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Anti-Plastic Rhetoric Could Pose Threat to Plastic Packaging Industry

Key Highlights:

  • Chase Plastics warns that widespread plastic criticism could pose a major risk to the UK's plastic packaging sector.
  • The rush toward alternative packaging materials is driven by sustainability goals, typically overlooking the lightweight, durable, and hygienic qualities of plastic.
  • Chase Plastics realises that the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) has generated more revenue than initially estimated by HMRC in its first year, which the company attributes to a lack of investment in the UK's recycling infrastructure. 
× Chase Plastics

Widespread anti-plastic rhetoric poses a substantive threat to the UK plastic packaging industry, says Chase Plastics.

The LDPE recycler said the recent rush to alternative packaging formats often ignores the lightweight, durable and hygienic properties of plastic in favour of packaging mediums that are perceived to be more sustainable, but which may in fact have a greater environmental impact. 

"As consumers, we have all seen the recent shift from plastic to other packaging formats despite the well-known environmental benefits of plastic as a lightweight, high-performance packaging medium,” said David Harris, Chase Plastics.

“It is vital that the plastics industry responds to this by highlighting the benefits of plastics packaging - especially that manufactured with recycled content - as a sustainable packaging format to both brand owners and consumers alike.” 

Harris recommends that that brands considering moving from lightweight plastic packaging to an alternative format should consider the full product lifecycle of both mediums before making such a switch – taking into account the energy and water used in production as well as end-of-life solutions.

Chase Plastics

David Harris, CEO of Chase Plastics

“Where they find that plastic provides the best environmental solution, brand owners should highlight this to demonstrate that they are working with the most sustainable medium available for their application and not just following a trend,” he continued. 

With Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) receipts having significantly surpassed HMRC’s year one estimate, Chase Plastics further suggests that a lack of investment in our national recycling infrastructure has contributed to PPT revenue exceeding expectations.

With 60 years of plastics recycling experience, Chase Plastics has seen investment in the UK’s plastics recycling capacity lag behind the volumes being generated over this period.

Harris added: “It will take time for our national recycling infrastructure to catch up with the demand for recycled content created by initiatives like the PPT and society’s increased environmental awareness. At Chase Plastics, we support recent calls for PPT revenues to be reinvested to help fund a plastics recycling infrastructure that would reduce waste and support the UK’s circular economy.” 

“Plastic has a lot to offer. Durable and lightweight, it protects and preserves products to ensure they arrive in excellent condition following which it can be recycled for re-use. The Plastic Packaging Tax should be a mechanism that will help us transit from a linear (plastic) economy to a truly circular (plastic) economy so reinvestment of the revenue raised back into our plastics recycling infrastructure should be a priority," he concluded.

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Publication date: 25/01/2024

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31