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INCPEN Newsletter

A message from Paul Vanston, INCPEN CEO

Dear Colleagues,

The Industry Council held a members-only Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Workshop on 17 January. This enabled us to consider the Industry Council’s positions (and the companies’ positions too) on EPR in the light of the latest knowledge, which includes guidance given to the European Commission on how they (and Member States) might wish to implement new/updated EPR schemes.  

The slides from the Workshop have been sent to main representatives in each member company. We are following-up with a further Workshop to settle positions in February. The invitation has gone out to main Board members. If any other INCPEN members would like to join, please initially email Ali Skuse at Same goes for access to the members-only slides if you haven’t received those.

The timing of the Industry Council’s activities is designed to fit with the national picture, which is being shaped by the UK government and the devolved administrations (DAs). The period up to December is looking like this: -
  1. Defra Packaging Working Group: This new Group sits under the umbrella of the Resources & Waste Strategy Stakeholder Group. The Packaging Working Group has a remit to look at joined-up solutions for EPR; Deposit Return Systems; and consistency of collections, packaging formats and recycling sorting facilities. Whilst Defra’s remit is England only, the outputs from this Group may lead to UK-wide solutions if they are acceptable to the DAs. This Group met for the first time on 28 January 2020. Its work is designed to fit with existing activities through the Government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging, the very extensive engagement across sectors, and with work being done by the DAs. INCPEN is a member alongside several Trade Associations Group colleagues. James Bull, Tesco also attended in his role supporting the Food & Drink Sector Council.
  2. Defra-led EPR Sounding Boards: A series of four Sounding Boards in London are planned for February and March, and with the support of the DAs. INCPEN is helping to organise the Sounding Boards and contribute resources to help get things done. These intend to go in-depth into EPR Payment Mechanisms, Governance, and Producers’ Fees. Defra is engaging with people knowledgeable across several sectors at the same time with the aim of creating cross-sector buy-in to potential solutions that could appear in the forthcoming consultation. The ‘producer’ side of things (e.g. manufacturers, retailers and brands) accounts for about half the overall attendees, which is a good balance.
  3. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales conferences: A series of national events in London, north England, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are being planned for May and June. These are being organised by INCPEN and the CIWM with inputs from Defra and the DAs. These will outline developments from the Sounding Boards (and other engagement mechanisms) with a view to raising awareness and traction behind any industry-wide agreements on the key aspects of the new EPR system. The aim: to inform the packaging value chain on direction with a view to them supporting solutions in their responses to the government consultation that follows.
  4. Consultation content: There’s a very good possibility that the content of the forthcoming consultations on EPR and DRS can be influenced to take producers’ wishes into account, especially if they are included in industry-wide agreements. Of course, if none of the sectors are willing to come together to negotiate an agreed way forward, then there’s also a high possibility Defra will impose a new EPR system on us whether there are aspects we like or not.  
  5. Consultation publication timing: The consultation documents might be drafted internally by end of July; sent out to government departments for views over the summer, with the potential for publication around September/October.
  6. Consultation live dates: Ministers will need to decide the length of the consultations: usually something from six weeks to three months. A longer period will certainly take us to the end of 2020. A shorter period means there’s more need for respondents to have our ‘ducks lined up’ in readiness for when the consultation goes live. INCPEN will be ready for this scenario.
What this year requires is an immense team effort by all of us across sectors and disciplines to deliver the well-designed system changes nationally that could be in place for the next quarter-century. It’s the Industry Council’s pleasure to be a ‘team player’ with our membership, the Trade Association Group, with the governments, and with partners across the packaging value chain. 

With best wishes,


INCPEN Member News

28 January 2020

Sainsbury's to become Net Zero by 2040

28 January 2020

Nesquik launches All Natural chocolate powder in recyclable paper packaging

28 January 2020

Herbal Essences is improving the health of hair with more plant power in 2020

28 January 2020

UK’s first ever plant-based condiment range to be launched by Tesco

27 January 2020

Plaswood manufactures benches made from plastic river waste

27 January 2020

Coca-Cola European Partners awarded position on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2019 A-List for the fourth year in a row

27 January 2020

The little-known mushroom varieties helping drive Tesco’s plant-based revolution

27 January 2020

Nestlé acquires Zenpep, expanding its medical nutrition business

24 January 2020

Ball to supply ‘infinitely recyclable’ disposable aluminum cups for Super Bowl

24 January 2020

Tesco removes 67m pieces of plastic as it scraps tinned multipacks from all its UK stores

21 January 2020

Dow named 2020 Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality by Human Rights Campaign Foundation

16 January 2020

Nestlé creates market for food-grade recycled plastics, launches fund to boost packaging innovation

16 January 2020

Seven things you may not know about Unilever

15 January 2020

Microsoft and Danone commit to Artificial Intelligence for a responsible food industry 

15 January 2020

Welcome 2020, marking 100 years of growth for Huhtamaki

13 January 2020

Crown commits to 20% reduction in water usage by 2025

10 January 2020

Sainsbury's Home launches Sleep More Sustainably Collection

9 January 2020

New organisations will help boost our support for social enterprises

Legislation Updates

INCPEN Members (not including Trade Association Group colleagues) can see all legislation updates in full by clicking here.  If you experience issues logging in, please contact Alison Skuse.

Spain: new government commits to prepare Circular Economy Strategy and new Waste Law - 27 January 2020

Within one week of taking office, the new Spanish government declared a climate emergency and committed to adopting 30 measures against climate change, including a Circular Economy Strategy and a new Waste Law with a zero-waste target by 2050.

On 13-Jan-20, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented the new Spanish government, a coalition between the Socialist Party and the far-left Podemos. Podemos secretary general Pablo Iglesias was appointed one of the four vice presidents of the government and is responsible for social rights and sustainable development.

A week later, the new ministers declared a climate emergency and committed to adopting 30 measures against climate change, of which five are to be implemented in the Government’s first 100 days in office, notably a proposal for a ‘Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition’ with the objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The other 25 measures include one to advance the ‘circularity of the economy by adopting a Circular Economy Strategy and a Waste Law that addresses, among other issues, the problem of single-use plastics to achieve "zero waste" by 2050”.

Other measures foresee notably the following legislation and strategies:
  • A Law on Sustainable Mobility and Public Transport;
  • A Law on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and in the reform of the Spanish cooperation (policy) system;
  • A Law on Industry [Development] Law and an Industrial Strategy;
  • A National Health and Environment Plan;
  • A Strategy to Combat Desertification and the National Forest Strategy;
  • A Strategy against the Demographic Challenge 
  • A Strategy of Sustainable Tourism;
  • A Strategy for the Protection of the Spanish Coast.
  • A Strategy to monitor and evaluate the implementation if the measures.
Note: In Feb/Mar-18, the previous Government had consulted on a ‘Spanish Circular Economy Strategy’.

France: DRS to be introduced only if collection and new reduction targets unlikely to be met - 9 January 2020

On 19-Dec-19 the National Assembly adopted modifications to the draft Circular Economy Law that require the Government to specify the details of a deposit system for beverage plastic bottles in 2023 if it appears unlikely that collection targets and a newly set reduction target for single-use plastic beverage bottles will be met.

After negotiations with representatives of local authorities, the Government proposed a modification to the section of the draft Circular Economy Law dealing with a DRS. The National Assembly (Parliament) adopted this modification in first reading on 19-Dec-19. A joint Parliament-Senate Committee is now drafting proposal for provisions of the draft Circular Economy Act that are still under discussion.

The adopted modification to the DRS related provision (Art. 8 bis) of the Draft Act
  • sets a collection target of 77% of plastic beverage bottles in 2025 and 90% in 2029 (as required by the EU’s SUP Directive);
  • sets a target to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles by 50% in 2030;
  • holds environment agency ADEME responsible for monitoring the performance towards these targets: Before 30-Sep-20, ADEME must assess the performance in 2019 and by Jun-21 and each year thereafter, it must publish collection/reduction rates of the previous year and assess whether the measures taken are sufficient to achieve the targets. The assessment should be ‘based on a method agreed with all the stakeholders, and in particular local authorities’.
  • requires that the Government to define - in 2023 - implementation details of one or more DRS for recycling and reuse
    • if ADEME’s reports suggest that the targets will not be achieved and
    • after evaluation of the economic and environmental impacts and consultation with stakeholders, in particular local authorities.
Local authorities* – who oppose the introduction of a DRS for single use packaging due to fears of losing valuable materials in the packaging waste they collect – had called on Parliamentarians to reject the modification and notably requested that the assessment of whether the targets can be reached is taken in 2025.

*represented by AMF, AdCF, APVF, ANPP, Urban France, Villes de France, AMORCE and CNR

Italy: Tax on single use plastic products and packaging to be enforced during first half of 2020 - 7 January 2020

Italy‘s 2020-22 Budget Law published on 30-Dec introduces a tax on ‘plastics articles used to contain, protect, handle or deliver goods or food products’ – referred to as MACSI* - from a yet to be defined date before mid-2020. Among others, Italian packaging manufacturers, as well as importers of packaged goods, will be obligated to pay the tax.

The final version of the 2020-22 Budget Law sets the tax rate at EUR 450 per tonne of plastic used in these articles, less than half the rate proposed in the draft.

MACSIs are defined as being made at least partially of plastic materials of synthetic origin and are not designed to be reused for the same purpose for which they were designed. They may be empty or packed (containing a product). Devices that allow the closing, the marketing or the presentation of articles are also considered MACSIs, as are semi-finished products used in the production of MACSIs.

The tax applies to virgin as well as to recycled plastics but excludes compostable materials (in compliance with the EN 13432), as well as medical devices and plastic materials used to contain medical preparations.

The tax obligation arises irrespective of whether or not the MACSI contains a product.  Domestic MACSI manufacturers and importers of MACSIs or products packaged in a MACSI – essentially all single-use plastic packaging – must report and pay the tax on a quarterly basis. 

Failure to pay the tax incurs administrative sanctions from 2 to 10 times the tax evaded (but not less than EUR 500), while tax payment delays are punished with a 30% surcharge (but no less than EUR 250). Late declarations incur penalties from EUR 500 to 5,000.

The Customs and Monopolies Agency – responsible for collecting the tax – is to publish detailed implementing rules by May-20.

The final text of the Budget law also introduces a tax credit for manufacturers of MACSIs of 10% of expenses incurred to adjust their production to compostable (bio-based) MACSIs. The tax credit is limited to EUR 20,000 per company.

In addition to the Plastic Tax, the 2020-22 Budget Law introduces a tax on sweetened soft drinks as well as the Italian Green New Deal, a plan to invest EUR 4.24 billion from 2020 to 2023 in green mobility and greenhouse gas reduction measures.

France: Parliament votes to end single-use packaging by 2040 as ban on first SUPs enters into force - 7 January 2020

As the ban of the first SUPs entered into force from 1-Jan-20, Parliamentarians already proposed to extend the list of banned SUPs and to set France the objective to end single-use plastic packaging from 2040.

First SUPs banned from 1-Jan-19
A Decree published on 27-Dec defines the details of the Environmental Code's ban of the following single-use plastic products from 1-Jan-20:  Single-use plastic cups, plates, straws, cutlery, steak spikes, lids for disposable cups, meal trays, ice cream jars, salad bowls, mixing cans and stirrers for beverages*.  

The Decree now
  • restricts the scope of the ban to products that do not fall under the definition of packaging i.e. plastic cups, plates and cutlery that are sold empty;
  • extends the scope from 3-Jul-21 to SUPs that are defined as packaging i.e. plastic cups filled in at the point of sale and ready to eat food containers;
  • provides for a 6 month grace period during which stock of SUP products manufactured or imported prior to 1-Jan-20 may be used up.
Moreover - unlike the Jul-19 draft of the Decree, the published Decree cancels the exemption from the ban of SUPs made of bio-based, home-compostable materials:  They will be banned from 3-Jul-21.

Note: The EU’s SUP Directive's definition of an SUP (Art. 3 (2)) does not cross-reference to packaging. Among the SUPs banned by the Directive, only EPS food containers intended for immediate consumption (Annex Part B (7)) clearly qualify as packaging as per the definition of the EU Packaging Directive (Art. 3 (1)) and its illustrative examples (Annex I). The SUP Directive thus does not appear to ban SUPs that are integral part of a product/packaging, such as straws attached to a beverage container.  The Commission is to provide guidance on what is to be considered an SUP by 3-Jul-10. A project currently undertaken by consultants Ramboll is to support the guidance.

Parliament sets objective to end single use packaging by 2040 and extends list of SUPs to be banned
On 19-Dec-19 the draft Circular Economy Act passed the first reading in Parliament with many modifications. Regarding  SUPs, these modifications will – if agreed in discussions with the Senate later this month:–
  • give France the objective to end single-use plastic packaging by 2040 (Art. 1 AD).
  • add a definition of SUP to the Act that removes the inclusion of compostable SUPs from the ban proposed earlier (currently they will be banned from Jul-21, see above): ‘Single-use plastic product means any product manufactured entirely or partially from plastic and which is not designed, created or placed on the market to achieve, during its lifetime , several trips or rotations by being returned to a producer to be refilled or reused for a use identical to that for which it was designed’ (Art. 10.1);
  • expand the list of banned SUPs significantly. Key items are:-
    • From 1-Jan-21:
      • Straw except those for medical purposes, plastic confetti, steak pikes, disposable cup lids, plates with plastic film, cutlery, stirrers, EPS containers intended for on-site or on-the go consumption, EPS bottles for drinks, balloons sticks and their mechanisms;
      • Packaging or bags made, in whole or in part, from oxodegradable plastics;
      • Oxo-degradable plastic based manufactured products.
      • Free distribution of plastic bottles containing drinks in public buildings and in business premises;
      • Fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables must displayed at retail without packaging made wholly or partly of plastic. Exempt are fruit and vegetables packaged in batches of 1.5 kg or more, as well as to fruit and vegetables subject to risk of deterioration as defined by decree.
    • From 1-Jan-22:  
      • The State no longer buys single use plastics for use in the workplace and events;
      • Tea bags and tea in non-biodegradable plastics as defined by decree;
      • Plastic packaging of press publications and advertising;
      • Non home-compostable labels affixed directly on fruits or vegetables;
      • Free plastic toys provided with menus for children;
* Also banned  from 1-Jan-20 are ​plastic still water bottles in school catering services and ​plastic cotton buds. In addition, starting Jan-25, plastic food containers for cooking, heating and serving will be banned in the catering services of schools, universities and childcare facilities.  

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