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More online retailers cut back on over-packaging and sign up to Packaging Tax

Image: Macfarlane Packaging

Online retailers have made significant strides in reducing over packaging, while many more have signed up to the UK government’s flagship Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) than previously thought.

Research among 1000 UK shoppers who received deliveries including fashion, food & drink, home & garden and health & beauty, found that retaielrs have reduced excessive packaging by 25% compared to when the research by Macfarlane Packaging began in 2016. In addition, consumers reported that they consider 78% of packs to be sustainable and 81% easy to recycle. This means that almost 20% more online retail packaging can be recycled now compared to 2020.

Branded packaging has also been put in the spotlight, with nearly 60% of consumers stating their parcels arrived branded, almost doubling in the last three years. 40% of consumers confirmed that branded packaging encourages them to buy again from retailers. 

Commenting on the survey results, Laurel Granville, Marketing Director of Macfarlane Packaging, says: “Responses to our unboxing survey this year demonstrate how retailers have been responding to consumer preferences and optimising their packaging so it’s more eco-friendly and less wasteful.”

Packaging Tax uptake update

Meanwhile, a growing number of retailers and suppliers have signed up to the UK Treasury’s flagship Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT). In August, a Freedom of Information request from law firm Pinsent Mason sparked a flurry of negative headlines, with just 992 businesses registering to pay the tax. 

However, HMRC has moved to clarify that the data reported was from April. In fact, as of September 26th, over 2,600 businesses across the UK successfully submitted their Q1 returns on time. 

The first quarter of the tax raised around £58m and went some way towards alleviating fears that PPT might not raise the £235m projected for year one.

Kathy Illingworth, Head of Sustainability Consulting at packaging data specialist Ecoveritas, says: “It’s pleasing to see the number of registrations jump, but for a measure that would supposedly affect up to 20,000 businesses, there is still work to be done. HMRC will surely be keen to rachet up the pressure after some of the abysmal headlines and come down hard with penalties for late or non-filed returns. Businesses should look to partner with a packaging data specialist that can consistently deliver a highly efficient and transparent service without the need to scale up to meet the requirements.”

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