In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, nearly half of which is packaging. The UK Government brought in measures to address wastage and benefit the environment, including the complete ban on 1 October 2020 of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds, and drink stirrers in England, except for exempt uses.
What More UK, which is already a zero to landfill company, was prompted to develop its Upcycled range as a response to the growing amount of plastics ending up in landfill or worse, in the ocean. Wham Upcycled is an award winning range of housewares, which features all their most popular lines, as an eco-friendly range manufactured from 100% recycled & recyclable plastic.
The UK Government additionally plan to introduce a new Plastic Packaging Tax, on packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic, to be paid for by the manufacturer, and starting from April 2022. Last November the draft list of products affected was released, and What More were concerned to see items on there that were very much multi use – including buckets, plastic bowls, loft storage and food storage containers.
The Treasury position is that the cost of £200 per tonne will apply to any ‘tax liable’ plastic packaging, where 30% recycled content cannot be demonstrated. The proposed millions extra in annual taxes would have hampered What More’s future investment plans, affected the livelihoods of 350 colleagues, and caused them to be less competitive both in the UK market, and their large export market which covers 75 countries.
Local MPs for What More’s manufacturing site locations, Antony Higginbotham and Sara Britcliffe, agreed that the HMRC proposals did not match the Government objectives on reducing unnecessary single-use plastic. They sent letters of support and attended meetings and consultations with HMRC, along with fellow North West MPs, Mark Menzies, Chris Green and Mark Logan.
Thanks to these consultations and work with the trade association BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association), HMRC have announced today that the draft legislation has been updated, to clarify that a number of items are outside the scope of the new tax – including toolboxes, plastic cups, shop fittings and many others. 3 categories of products from the meaning of a ‘plastic packaging component’ have been removed. HMRC agreed such products do not typically contribute to plastic pollution.
Company Director Tony Grimshaw OBE, commented: “What More have a focus on recycling and reusing materials and we are proud of our credentials. 10,000 tonnes of plastic used in our manufacturing processes is fully recycled already. I’m very grateful to the five MPs and our trade association BHETA for understanding our position and working hard to ensure that HMRC appreciate that our industry is part of the solution, and not the cause. None of What More’s products will now be subject to this tax. I’m delighted with the amendments to the draft legislation, and this means we can continue to invest in our colleagues and expansion plans.”
You can read more about the proposed Plastic Packaging Tax here: