Widespread support for plastic packaging tax

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Half of UK consumers called for a tax on plastics for food packaging
Half of UK consumers called for a tax on plastics for food packaging
More than half of consumers in the UK are in favour of a tax on all plastic packaging on food products, according to new research from a specialist consultancy.

Ingredient Communications’ survey of 1,000 consumers across the UK and the US found that 52% of 500 British respondents said they were in favour of a tax.

It also found that 41% of UK consumers would be more likely to buy produce from supermarkets that sold fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging, while 3% said this would make them less likely to shop there.

Richard Clarke, founder and managing director of Ingredient Communications, said the research made it clear that there was a high demand for food manufacturers to use more plastic-free packaging and for supermarkets to introduce plastic-free features into their stores.

Benefits overlooked

“However, the benefits of plastic packaging for food and beverage products are often overlooked. It helps protect goods from damage, extends shelf life and creates a brand identity, which undoubtedly influences consumers’ purchasing decisions,”​ he added.

“A key challenge for both manufacturers and retailers of food products is to find alternatives to plastic packaging that maintain these benefits for the supply chain and consumers.”

Surveygoo, the research company that carried out the survey for Ingredient Communications, believed the support for plastics tax grew after the airing of the BBC’s nature documentary Blue Planet 2, ​which exposed the impact of plastic waste on marine life.

‘Heart-breaking impact of plastic waste’

Managing director Neil Cary said: “Our research definitely reflects the ‘Blue Planet effect’ in the UK. Viewers were left in no doubt about the harmful and often heart-breaking impact of plastic waste, and many were inspired to make a change.”

The UK Treasury recently revealed it had received more than 162,000 responses from the public to a consultation on how taxes could help tackle plastic waste and promote recycling. Most consumers said they would back a tax on single-use plastic items, including cups, plastic cutlery, lids and straws.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, ice cream manufacturer Kelly’s of Cornwall pledged to replace all of the black plastic packaging​ used in its Clotted Cream variety with silver plastic, which is easier to recycle.

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