The Chancellor has announced that UK's retailers and businesses will be faced with a new plastic packaging tax, in an effort to increase usage of recyclable plastic and reduce carbon emissions.
Retailers will pay an excess £200 per tonne of plastic packaging made up of less than 30% of recycled plastic. Sunak also declared that this tax is projected to increase usage of recyclable plastic by 40% in the coming years.
The plastic packaging tax is in keeping with the trend towards sustainability in the retail sector as of late. A recent study by TetraPak showed that 97% of retailers are working to change their processes to improve sustainability and reduce plastic waste due to consumer demand, whilst many of the UK's biggest grocers and retailers; including Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's M&S and Waitrose; have all introduced new sustainability initiatives to dramatically cut plastic waste. These initiatives include self-packing and refill stations, ban on plastic wrapping for tins, and the introduction of "sustainability stores".
Will Broome, CEO and Founder of retail tech pioneers Ubamarket, is one of the UK's retail professionals working to help retailers and consumers alike to reduce their plastic waste, having created an app which provides plastic alerts and a sustainability score for all shoppers, helping them to shop in a more environmentally aware manner and providing retailers with much greater access to consumer behaviour data.
Will Broome discusses the introduction of the plastic packaging tax and provides insight on the role of technology in reducing the plastic waste produced by retailers: "It's extremely encouraging to see that the government is responding to the growing concerns surrounding the quantity of plastic waste and resulting carbon emissions in the retail sector. Consumers and retailers alike are already aware of the issue, and 97% of retailers have already announced their efforts to make tangible, sustainable changes to their business to meet consumer demand.However, now that the government is introducing a tax for businesses and retailers, dedicated to creating a sustainable future, it is clear that sustainability is no longer just a passing trend or a hashtag – it is now the future of retail, and must become one of the cornerstones of every retailer's plans for development in the UK.
"One way that retailers can reduce plastic waste is to implement tech solutions. Ubamarket's Plastic Alerts feature is an example of one such solution, which allows customers to shop according to the recyclability and environmental footprint of different products, by providing information on the recyclability of every product and providing overall sustainability scores for each shop. I for one am excited to see how retailers respond to this tax, and Ubamarket is committed to providing further solutions to help the UK's retailers grow and prosper in the coming months and years".