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Packaging taxes must fund recycling, says industry

The food packaging industry has called for any taxes imposed to tackle the environmental impact of plastic and other packaging to be spent directly on increased recycling and reducing litter.

Recent commitments from ministers to take action were welcomed by the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) at its annual Environment Seminar, attended by a record 200 participants.

Speakers from Greenpeace, the Green Alliance and WRAP all referenced producer reform, and acknowledged that reforming this system should play a significant role in the Government’s review of packaging taxes or charges.

Lord Deben, a former environment secretary who closed the seminar, said reform through the packaging recovery note (PRN) system was “overdue” and this gave a chance for the money raised to create a fund to do two things.

“Firstly, to create a resource for local authorities to bid for, so that they can create infrastructure for on-the-go collection and recycling, particularly in town centres, leisure facilities and places of natural beauty,” he said. 

“Secondly, to kick-start recycling facilities, because we are going to need more [of them] to cope with increased recycling and we need consistent infrastructure and labelling.”

Martin Kersh, executive director of the FPA, said: “The FPA has been leading the drive for PRN reform for some time. It is good to see that other organisations are now embracing this as the channel for increasing recovery of use packaging, increasing recycling and impacting on litter.

“We are also calling for national standardisation of recovery and recycling materials to make things simpler and easier for the consumer to understand.”

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