NEWS & INSIGHT FROM THE FPA

NEWS & INSIGHT FROM THE FPA

SIGNS OF HOPE?

Further to the most recent FPA Business Impact Survey, we have issued the following to Packaging News, as this week there are some signs of hope, albeit tempered.  Martin commented: “With the prospect of the hospitality sector reopening we very much hope these figures are as bad as it is going to get.  With rumours of a reopening of hospitality sooner than expected with the possibility of social distancing being reduced to 1.5m or even 1m, pavement space being widened to enable more outside dining and consideration being given to extending opening hours, there is hope for the longer term.

“In the shorter term any optimism must be tempered by reduced public confidence in going out, alongside a reduction in the number of office workers commuting to their workplaces and also office-based businesses reviewing their working practices.  We also have to factor in the amount of packaging already in the supply chain so anticipate there will be a lag in demand following the reopening of the hospitality sector.  It will consequently take more time for foodservice packaging to return to pre-pandemic trading

“It is therefore vital the support given to the hospitality sector is applied to its supply chain. Continuing the furlough scheme is felt by FPA members to be the most effective support government can offer but we should seek greater flexibility as recovery will not be smooth so an option to employ say for three days and furlough for two would give businesses the ability to meet customer demands and stay in business.”

Read the press release here.

ANDY KEMP & PETER BACKMAN TO SPEAK AT NEXT FPA WEBINAR 4 JUNE

As we focus more on rebuilding and getting back to business under an eased lockdown, we’re delighted that Dr Andy Kemp of Bidfood and industry insights specialist Peter Backman have both agreed to speak at our next webinar on 4 June at 3.30pm for one hour.  As Sales & Marketing Director of one of the UK’s leading foodservice distribution companies, Andy will give us unique insight into how Bidfood has tackled the crisis and how it sees the sector coping over the coming months.  Peter has responded to coronavirus by turning his usual Quarterly Insight for the foodservice and hospitality sector into a weekly piece, giving vital information in a fast moving situation.

They will both give a view on how they see things evolving in the coming weeks and webinar attendees will have the chance to ask questions.

You can register for the webinar here.  Chairman Mark Pawsey will also give an update on how things are evolving in Parliament; Vice Chairman Mark Byrne will chair the webinar.  If you have any questions you would like to submit in advance, please email Lisa.

 

EXEMPTION TO UK QUARANTINE REGULATIONS

The recently announced quarantine regulation makes it clear there is an exemption for ‘a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services (including commissioning, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods’.  This covers machinery servicing, installation and repairs. There had been concerns no provision would be made and much lobbying was undertaken to ensure one was in place.  Of course there is the matter of quarantine arrangements for these skilled specialists in their own countries when they return. The Border Force will soon be publishing the required documentation to be completed in advance.

The FDF is seeking clarification for skilled specialists returning to the UK following short-term assignments.  It is also worth noting there is an exemption for ‘a person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week.’  Particularly important to multi-national organisations.

HMRC & DEFRA MEETINGS

HMRC held a webinar on the plastics tax due to be implemented April 2022.  From the level of detail the impression was given the development of the tax is being led by HMRC rather than the Treasury.

In response to recent questions from members:

  • the tax applies where the plastic is the single biggest material – this may be less than 50% where multiple materials are employed
  • both pre and post-consumer recycled content count towards the 30% minimum recycled content but pre-consumer must have taken place in a separate facility

The current consultation runs until 20 August and we aim to publish our response in the next two weeks.  We hope the additional time will encourage members to respond.  In doing so we draw your attention to:

  • including packaging that does not become packaging until used by the end consumer which brings cling film into scope

businesses placing less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging on the market are to be exempted.  Some members have already mentioned this moves away from being the level playing field HMRC seeks.  It also runs counter to our belief all businesses should be included in producer responsibility measures and, while not being money spinners for the government, having no exemptions means all businesses focus on achieving the desired improvements and not just the biggest ones.

MEMBERS CONTINUE GOOD WORK
Sovereign has been providing packaging to several charities for thousands of meals every week across three counties (London, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire).  Many are catering for NHS workers of various religions with strict dietary laws so Sovereign is providing the packaging free for Muslim, Jewish and Hindu caterers.  The company has also been able to support charities taking care of isolated older members in their communities with home deliveries of food and essentials.

Coveris has teamed up with retail display specialist Benchmark to develop a disposable, hygienic barrier visor to help protect and prevent against the spread of COVID-19.  The initiative has capacity to produce up to 10 million visors a week that are suitable for workplace and general use and do not impact the current government procurement strategy of PPE for the NHS and front-line workers.

CRITICAL INFORMATION
BEIS webinars – BEIS is running a series of seminars on working safely during coronavirus.  The webinars cover a range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to be open.  Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of the guides/webinars as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.  More information and register here.

BBIA webinar – a webinar looking at: ‘A new Extended Producer Responsibility System for compostable packaging – the Italian model’ on 16 June, 2.00pm-3.30pm.  Participation is free and you can register here.

ESSENTIAL READING

CORONAVIRUS RELATED NEWS
Business Green says that single-use plastics are helping keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, but creating new challenges for governments in dealing with the waste problem as oil prices plummet.Read here.

Plastics Recyclers Europe also report similar problems as demand for recyclates is impacted by COVID-19.  Read here. 

Catering Today reports that trade body UK Hospitality has launched an alliance to support suppliers ‘who are intrinsic to the functioning of the hospitality sector’. Read here.

Let’s Recycle reports that recycling seems to be returning to normal with 81% of local authorities reporting that their recycling collections are now operating as normal in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Read here.

HuffPost (US) reports environmental activists are sounding the alarm as city streets become littered with masks and gloves, and single-use plastics get a new lease of life. Read here.

OTHER NEWS
Resource Magazine reports that behaviour change company Greenredeem has called on Defra to reconsider its plans to roll out DRS for single-use beverage containers and invest instead in convenient recycling solutions that create ‘sustained behaviour change’. Read here.

Let’s Recycle reports that WRAP has announced four projects which have won grants totalling nearly £1m as part of a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) competition to find innovative solutions to plastic waste.  Read here.

The Guardian reports that the abundance of microplastic pollution in the oceans is likely to have been vastly underestimated, according to research that suggests there are at least double the number of particles as previously thought. Read here.

Food Packaging Forum reports on a new joint report from the United Nations Environment Programme and partners assessing global labelling on plastic packaging related to recycling.  Read here.

Food Navigator reports that Iceland has announced food waste reductions of almost 2,500 tonnes, a decrease of 23.3% over the last two years in its first public food waste report. Read here.