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How Does EPR Support Sustainability?

  • 13th March 2023
  • 5 min read

Sustainability. It’s become a top priority for businesses across the globe, no matter their size. Naturally, as conversation surrounding climate change proliferates, the packaging industry is placed under a microscope. And it makes sense. 

According to Recycle Track Systems, it is thought that there’s currently 75 to 199 million tons of plastic waste in our oceans, and a further 33 billion pounds of plastic will enter the marine environment every single year.

The reality is, more needs to be done to mitigate the impact that plastic and human activity has on the environment, so that we can protect the earth and create a safe world for future generations.

EPR - promoting sustainable packaging 

One way to do this is through the introduction of EPR. The acronym for Extended Producer Responsibility, the goal of EPR is to reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste in the UK. 

EPR encourages business owners and manufacturers to take accountability for the negative impact the lifecycle of all of their products have on the planet, and a big part of this is packaging. 

Reducing waste with EPR 

A key way EPR does this is through the reduction of waste. EPR strategies helps manufacturers and business owners design packaging that’s Plastic Tax compliant, recyclable and in some instances can be reused. 

This has a direct impact on the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, which in turn reduces environmental impact. 

Designing sustainable packaging with EPR 

Evaluating your packaging design is extremely important as it helps you evaluate whether your packaging is sustainable, recyclable and provides great customer experience. 

Sustainable packaging is the sourcing, development and use of packaging solutions that have minimal environmental impact and footprint. 

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) says that for packaging to be considered as sustainable, it should be:

  • Beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its lifecycle.
  • Meet market criteria for performance and cost.
  • Is sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy.
  • Optimises the use of renewable recycled source materials.
  • Manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices.
  • Is physically designed to optimise materials and energy. 

The advantages of sustainable packaging

Implementing sustainable packaging into your business has many advantages, including:

  • Lower shipping costs
    - Reducing your packaging sizes should help reduce your shipping costs as it tends to cost less to send out smaller packages. 

Types of sustainable packaging

Sustainable packaging can come in various forms, such as:

  • Plant-based packaging - made out of things like mushrooms, seaweed and food waste. 
  • Edible packaging - is made from similar materials to plant-based packaging, however edible packaging is safe to eat. 
  • Plantable packaging - contains seeds within their packaging so you can plant them rather than throwing them away.
  • Compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives - these are usually made from plant-based polymer that can break down in compost. 

How implementing EPR could affect the Plastic Tax

The Plastic Packaging Tax aims to reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastic usage ending up in landfill as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions. 

The plastic tax will affect businesses of all sizes that use plastic packaging. If your company uses over 10 tonnes of plastic a year then you will need to register with HMRC.

Those importing or manufacturing plastic in the UK will be charged £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% of recycled plastic. 

The plastic levy (plastic tax) should increase the demand for recycled plastic, therefore reducing the amount of plastic in landfill sites. 

Implementing EPR into your company through using sustainable packaging could help reduce your plastic tax or even remove it completely if you don’t use any plastic at all. Moving to more sustainable packaging won’t just save the planet, but will save your pocket too!

Become EPR compliant with Titan Packaging 

EPR has huge impacts on both companies and the planet as it encourages businesses to reduce their packaging waste and introduce more sustainable materials into their business. 

It’s important to take responsibility for the negative environmental impacts your business has so that you can start to make a conscious effort to take a more sustainable approach to your business efforts. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you make the right sustainable packaging solutions for you and the planet.

Written by: Samantha Hanson Procurement Director

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