Is it worth paying for recycled content pallet wrap?

Is it worth paying for recycled content pallet wrap?

The Plastics Packaging Tax will take effect from 1 April 2022 and already the price of recycled plastic packaging is going through the roof.

The Grocer reported earlier this month that the cost of recycled plastic polymers have shot up by as much as 70% in the past year, causing huge cost implications for companies liable to pay the new tax.

The new tax will apply to plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. Companies will have to pay £200 for every tonne of plastic packaging the use that does not contain the minimum recycled material.

The measure is expected to affect around 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging. The tax applies to pallet wrap too, so even if you don’t use plastic for your primary packaging, you may still be liable.

Understandably there’s been a rush to source recycled plastic packaging products, but stocks are limited and high demand is driving prices up and up.

As a result many companies are opting to pay the tax rather than paying over the odds for pallet wrap. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce your liability.

Option 1: How to reduce the tax you pay

As a leading packaging supplier, we estimate UK businesses use 150,000 tonnes of stretch wrap a year. We believe that through our expertise in optimisation this could be reduced by 45,000 tonnes per year, reducing Plastics Packaging Tax liability by almost a third.

The outline calculation in the table below shows you that at current prices it’s potentially going to be cheaper to continue to use your existing film than recycled plastic wrap. But if you decide to look at ways of optimising the performance of the film you use, rather than switch to recycled content film, you’ll use a lot less material and will off-set some of the costs of the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Usage Purchase price Tax liability Saving from optimisation Total cost
100 tonnes of non-recycled content film £258,000 £20,000 £77,400 £200,600
100 tonnes of recycled content film £258,000 £0 No optimisation £258,000

To gain these benefits you need to establish how much film you are using and if you’re using it correctly. Our pallet wrapping specialists regularly see three mistakes which, if addressed, are real opportunities for reducing plastic packaging and reducing your tax liability

  1. Choosing stretch wrap in isolation

One of the main errors is choosing stretch wrap in isolation, without considering the machinery it will be used with, or the products it’s wrapping. Since all products behave differently in transit, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. When buying wrap you need to ensure you’re buying the right film specification for the job and that it will work effectively with your wrapping machinery.

  1. Too much wrap

A second common issue is using far more wrap than is needed to ensure stability, resulting in huge volumes of unnecessary plastic waste. This stems from the fear that wrapping film will snap during transit, so it’s best to add another layer.

The opposite is in fact the case. Too often stretch wrap is not stretched far enough to ensure it reaches its optimum performance. This leaves stretch in the film meaning there is room for movement during transit, creating instability and leading to product damage. By using the right wrap at the right tension, a smaller amount of wrap will generate greater stability, reducing usage and cost.

  1. Optimising

A third mistake is not optimising your machinery correctly for the pallet wrap that is being used with it. Regularly reviewing the settings and ensuring they are correct is often a quick fix for reducing usage and ultimately plastic waste.


Option 2: Recycled content product options

For many companies, the Plastic Packaging Tax is secondary to sustainability and plastic reduction goals. The need to reduce plastic and move to more sustainable products, such as those that include recycled content, is a no brainer.

At Lindum Packaging we have launched a new range of sustainable pallet wrap products made with 30% recycled content ahead of the introduction of the Plastics Packaging Tax. The range incorporates films with nano technology which has higher stretch properties and provides a more environmentally friendly option, as much less is required to wrap a pallet leading to reduced plastic use. The range also includes a stretch film option for pallet wrapping by hand, as well as packaging tape for machine and manual carton sealing, plus pallet hood covers and heat shrink film.

So, if you’ve not thought about it yet, now is the time to get to grips with your pallet wrap and stretch film usage and start looking at your options ahead of the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax. Our team are here to help and are happy to talk through your current products and what your best options are moving forward – whether that’s with a recycled content option or optimisation.

If you’d like to know more about how the experts at Lindum Packaging can help, drop us an email or even better give us a call. We’ll be delighted to answer your questions.