Proposed tax on plastic could cause meat price increase in UK

The British Meat Processors Association (BPMA) has said that the proposed new Plastic Packaging Tax could see meat companies paying considerably more for packaging that contains less than 30% recycled material.

According to the BMPA, “Government is consulting on a proposed new Plastic Packaging Tax which could see meat companies paying considerably more for packaging that contains less than 30% recycled material. That includes all plastic films, primal bags and ‘flexibles’ for food contact uses, none of which are currently allowed to have any recycled content.”

About the proposed plastic tax

At Budget 2018, the government announced that it will introduce a world leading tax on plastic packaging from April 2022. The tax will encourage the use of recycled plastic instead of new plastic within packaging. It will create greater demand for recycled plastic, and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.

The tax aims to provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.

At Budget 2020, the government announced that Plastic Packaging Tax will apply at a rate of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. This will apply to plastic packaging which has been manufactured in, or imported into, the UK. The government will keep the rate of the tax and the 30% recycled plastic threshold under review to ensure that the tax remains effective in increasing the use of recycled plastic.

Alternative Options

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is working with American start-up company, Corumat, to develop patented technology using food and meat waste to make a plastic-free, compostable meat tray.

The Corumat meat tray  could be up to 20% cheaper than plastic meat trays, and although it is still under development, the company says it is showing ‘promising signs of market adoption’.

MLA’s Group Manager – Science and Innovation Michael Lee said: “Upcycling waste streams could potentially re-position our True Aussie Beef and Lamb to be clean, green and plastic-free.

“This complete value-chain story of sustainability provides Australian red meat with a significant competitive advantage in the global protein market. Brand owners, producers and consumers are all set to benefit.”

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