A message from Paul Vanston, INCPEN CEO
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: -
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
With best wishes,
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:
Note: In Feb/Mar-18, the previous Government had consulted on a ‘Spanish Circular Economy Strategy’.
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.
*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
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
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
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
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.
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;
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
for a 6 month grace period during which stock of SUP products
manufactured or imported prior to 1-Jan-20 may be used up.
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
* 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
- give France the objective to end single-use plastic packaging by 2040 (Art. 1 AD).
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:
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;
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;
- New OPRL rules will drive change ahead of EPR reforms; New
rules governing OPRL’s market-leading recycling labels will give
greater transparency on the final fate of packaging, highlighting what
gets sorted and reprocessed and which pack designs are likely to be
landfilled or incinerated. The move is expected to drive more
rapid switching into sustainable packaging ahead of Extended Producer
Responsibility reforms as new labels are applied over the next 3 years.
- Organisations demand “action” from PM on Sustainable Development Goals; A
group of organisations spearheaded by UK Stakeholders for Sustainable
Development (UKSSD), delivered a resolute brief to Prime Minister Boris
Johnson this week.
- Biffa opens PET plant as export markets tighten; Biffa
is today (29 January) officially opening a £27.5m recycling plant in
Seaham, County Durham, for PET plastics. At the same time, the company
disclosed that it will be also be investing £7 million in a plant to
process 20,000 tonnes per annum of pots, tubs and trays (which are
usually made from polypropylene (PP) and PET.
- Heathrow.com launches new carbon offsetting service for passengers; The
initiative is the aviation firm’s latest attempt to green its
operations, while controversy over plans to construct a third runway
- Food and Drink Federation data reveals emissions and water-saving progress, but food waste challenges remain; The
UK food and drink industry has made substantial progress in cutting its
CO2 emissions, slashing water consumption, and reducing food waste in
line with targets set out in the Food and Drink Federation's (FDF)
Ambition 2025 strategy, the body's latest progress report revealed
- MPs call on government to create circular economy through compostables; Cross-party
MPs and Peers have called on the Government to include ambitious
targets for compostables in the forthcoming Environment Bill.
- Polystar Plastics reuse plastic waste to create next generation polythene; Southampton
based Polystar Plastics has launched a new and exclusive Post-Consumer
Waste (PCW) material, PCWflex. The launch follows the government’s
announcement that it intends to introduce a new, higher tax on plastic
packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content.
- ‘Enormous’ cost of PRNs undermining industry, says Alupro; Aluminium
has exceeded the 2019 packaging recycling target of 112,200 tonnes but
experts have warned that an increase in the price of packaging recovery
notes (PRNs) is undermining the packaging industry.
- Ukraine’s own Green Deal aims to slash energy imports; Ukraine’s
long-term climate plan could significantly cut reliance on energy
imports, its energy ministry suggested last week. But a 2050 phase-out
date for coal power has provoked disappointment.
- Practical issues of new food packaging guidelines; The
Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) new guidance on allergen labelling
changes for prepacked for direct sale food does not resolve some of the
practical issues of complying with the new legislation, an expert in
allergen law has claimed.
- 60% of consumers ‘need help’ to reduce the amount of plastic they use; Almost
all consumers surveyed claimed to make an effort to recycle, although
many respondents admitted they need help to reduce the amount of plastic
that they use.
- Legislation to shake-up foodservice, delegates warned; Operators
in the foodservice packaging sector will need to adapt to sweeping
changes in legislation, according to speakers at this year’s FPA
- Food waste falls by 7% per person in three years; The
UK is making significant steps in reducing its food waste, with total
food waste levels falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018 – a 7%
reduction per person and equivalent of filling London’s Royal Albert
Hall ten times.
- Loopholes in the SUP Directive The current material substitution strategy could defeat the very purpose of the directive; In
July 2019 the SUP Directive, which aims to reduce the impacts of
single-use plastics on the environment and to foster a transition away
from single-use plastics, entered into force and now the focus is on the
implementing Acts and Guidelines. The proper interpretation of the
Directive is crucial, starting by getting the scope right to avoid any
- Why is the government so keen to diverge from the EU? In
the Financial Times (18th January) the chancellor, Sajid Javid, made it
clear that the UK is going to diverge from EU rules: “There will not be
alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single
market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by
the end of the year.”
- Aluminium packaging recycling exceeds 2019 target; Provisional
data released by the Environment Agency earlier this month shows that
aluminium packaging exceeded its 2019 recycling target by more than
- Hubbub investment to recycle 4 million coffee cups a year in London; The
funding has been provided through a #CupFund grant programme financed
by the voluntary 5p charge Starbucks has added to their single use
- Malaysia returns 42 containers of 'illegal' plastic waste to UK; Malaysia
is returning 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste
to the UK, its environment minister has announced. Yeo Bee Yin said
Malaysia would take "steps to ensure" the country "does not become the
garbage dump of the world".
- UK firms could find new opportunities in Egyptian packaging sector post Brexit; UK
companies could take advantage of opportunities in the Egyptian
packaging sector, according to a delegation at the UK Africa Investment
- Businesses compete for £37m plastic innovation fund; The
government has unveiled three competitions designed to make the UK a
“leader in smart and sustainable plastic packaging”.
- SIG makes bold statement with target to cut 60% emissions; The
aseptic packaging giant said it is committed to cutting its Scope 1 and
2 emissions by 60% by 2030 (from the 2016 baseline), which has been
confirmed by SBTi as being in line with the latest climate science to
limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to prevent the
worst effects of climate change.
- Asda trials refills at 'sustainability store'; Asda
is launching a "sustainability store" where shoppers can fill their own
containers with food. Customers at a Leeds branch will be able to use
refill stations for own brand rice and pasta, as well as Kellogg's
cereals and PG Tips.
- Colgate launches first recyclable toothpaste tube; Colgate
has launched an ‘industry-first’ recyclable toothpaste tube, as part of
the company’s aim for 100 per cent of its packaging to be recyclable by
- Debunking the myths about farming and methane; The
National Farmers Union (NFU) have set the ambitious goal of reaching
net zero carbon emissions by 2040, a full ten years before the
government’s countrywide target of 2050. This is a laudable target which
presents some interesting challenges specific to the agricultural
While many sectors emit CO2 and must look for ways to minimise this,
the majority of agriculture’s emissions come from methane and nitrous
oxide. Balancing this, they have a large capacity to sequester CO2 in
soils and biomass. This could be a very big opportunity for farmers as,
until carbon capture is demonstrated at scale, they are currently
sitting on the only commercially proven method of removing carbon from