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Boohoo praised for proactive Plastic Packaging Tax work

Leading packaging data services provider Ecoveritas has highlighted Boohoo Group's proactive work in ensuring suppliers are aligned to comply with the UK Plastic Packaging Tax.

The online fast fashion behemoth revealed last week that HMRC had charged for some polybags and does not have the certificate to confirm the recycled content.

On 1 April 2022, the UK introduced the Plastic Packaging Tax. Any plastics manufactured in or imported into the UK will be subject to the tax unless evidence shows that the plastics contain at least 30% certified recycled material.

Boohoo has covered the cost of any HMRC charge so far but plans on transitioning that responsibility ‘in the near future’. The retailer even went as far as sourcing a nominated global supplier that produces 100% certified recycled material and recyclable packaging. At the same time, it extended an option of continuing to use independent suppliers, as long as it could certify that the poly bags were at least 50% recycled material, made from LDPE (low density polyethylene) only and several other standards.

‘It is heartening to see the proactive steps Boohoo Group is taking regarding PPT,’ said Kathy Illingworth, Head of sustainability consulting. ‘The company’s openness and transparency are what we all want to see. However, imported plastic packaging such as hangers, tags, and secondary overbags will also likely present headaches.

‘Whether your priority is to reduce the plastic in packaging, increase the recycled content, or even figure out where to start with plastic packaging, it all begins with opening a dialogue with suppliers. This catalyst sets everything else in motion, from conveying accurate information about degradability and recyclability to tackling waste, increasing recycled content, and collaborating on solutions to reduce plastic use.

‘Suppliers must be consistently held accountable for providing accurate and up to date packaging composition data and fulfilling commitments they have made to reach specific packaging goals. Only then can brands and retailers make substantial, evidence backed claims about packaging and be ready to face the UK plastic tax.

‘As brands grapple with the new tax, there is still room for improvement. By stipulating that they want 50% recycled content in the bags, it might be cheaper to pay the tax. Whether their global supplier can supply enough recycled content at a lower cost than the £200 tax also raises questions to which Boohoo hopefully have the answers.

‘Offering suppliers education and support to understand the rules is another step we see as needed from these big household bands. Complexities around scoping, who pays, and what evidence is acceptable appear to be the main drivers behind PPT's stuttering start and an initial registration rate that amounted to less than 5% of the anticipated number. By limiting certification schemes to just two, Boohoo might also hinder progress in the long term, particularly as they broaden their focus to other obligated plastics.’

Collecting, collating, and submitting data to ensure your business complies with a myriad of packaging waste regulations can be a daunting and complex task. From assessing your business activities and packaging flows and identifying what packaging is obligated to collecting and sorting relevant packaging data, completing your data form, and providing a methodology statement for use at audits, the work is unrelenting.

Ecoview is a versatile digital platform, which makes transparency and compliance a much simpler task. The system is designed to simplify technical and sustainable packaging management and more value adding for brands, retailers and their supply chains.

Ecoview brings online analysis, audit and reporting technologies together in one place – with an intuitive user dashboard that ensures every business has access to packaging data at every level, from the top line to granular.


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