Taxes imposed on packaging in order to tackle plastic waste and save the environment should be reinvested into the recycling process, the food packaging industry has said.

During its annual Environment Seminar, attended by 200 members, the UK’s Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) urged for changes to be made within the industry, and praised the Government’s recent political involvement in the sustainability debate.

The FPA’s executive director Martin Kersh called particularly for a reform on the packaging recovery note (PRN) system, claiming that several organisations have started using it as a means to increase recycling and to reduce the impact of litter.

He said: “With this reform, all taxes and charges can be channelled indirectly, without the need for a cup tax, DRS [deposit return system] or a tax on single-use plastic. We are also calling for national standardisation of recovery and recycling materials to make things simpler and easier for the consumer to understand.”

At the event, speakers from Greenpeace, the Green Alliance and WRAP all insisted on the necessity of developing a producer reform, which would play a crucial role in the Government’s review of packaging taxes and charges.

Margaret Bates, former president of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and currently professor at the University of Northampton, claimed that the use and disposal of packaging is everyone’s responsibility and referenced consumer behaviour as a key component within the reform.

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Lastly, Lord Deben argued that changing the currently ‘overdue’ PRN system would be fast, effective and cheaper than levying new taxes.

He said: “The PRN system has worked well but is overdue for reform. We can use this opportunity to great effectiveness and use the money collected to create a fund to do two things.

“Firstly to create a resource for local authorities to bid for, so that they can create infrastructure for on-the-go collection and recycling, particularly in town centres, leisure facilities and places of natural beauty.”

“Secondly, to kick start recycling facilities, because we are going to need more facilities to cope with increased recycling and we need consistent infrastructure and labelling,” he concluded.