Successfully Implementing Recycled Content in Packaging Operations

In today’s environmentally conscious business landscape, transitioning from virgin plastic to recycled content for packaging operations is not just a trend but a necessity. As companies strive to meet sustainability goals and comply with regulations, understanding how to successfully implement recycled content in packaging operations is crucial. This blog will explore the steps to make this transition, focusing on switching from virgin plastic pallet wrap to recycled content, and discuss the UK Plastic Packaging Tax’s role in this process.


Why Transition to Recycled Content?

Reducing reliance on virgin plastic helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions and the volume of plastic waste in landfills and oceans which reduces your environmental impact.

Governments worldwide are introducing regulations to curb plastic use, making it imperative for businesses to adapt and comply with regulations.

Consumers are increasingly favouring brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.


Steps to Implement Recycled Content in Packaging Operations

  1. Start by assessing your current usage of virgin plastic pallet wrap in your operations and ensure you understand the volume, cost, and specific requirements of your packaging.
  2. Define clear sustainability goals, such as reducing virgin plastic usage by a certain percentage or achieving specific recycled content targets.
  3. Conduct supplier reviews to identify suppliers that offer high-quality recycled plastic materials and ensure they meet industry standards and can provide consistent supply.
  4. Implement a pilot programme to test recycled content pallet wrap and monitor its performance in terms of strength, durability, and suitability for your packaging needs.
  5. Establish quality control measures to ensure that recycled content meets your standards. This may involve adjusting machinery settings or wrapping techniques.
  6. Adjust your inventory management system to accommodate recycled materials, ensuring you have a steady supply to avoid disruptions. Work closely with suppliers to ensure they understand your needs and can provide materials that meet your quality and sustainability standards.
  7. Use metrics to track the performance of recycled content in your operations. Monitor cost savings, reduction in virgin plastic use, and any operational challenges.
  8. Transparently report your progress towards sustainability goals to stakeholders. This can enhance your brand’s reputation and demonstrate compliance with regulations.


The UK Plastic Packaging Tax

The UK Plastic Packaging Tax, introduced in April 2022, aims to incentivise the use of recycled plastic in packaging. Here are key points to consider:

  • The tax applies at a rate of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic.
  • It affects UK manufacturers, importers, and businesses that fill packaging with goods.
  • Certain types of packaging, such as those used for medicinal products, are exempt from the tax.
  • Businesses must keep detailed records to demonstrate the recycled content of their packaging and file periodic tax returns.


The tax can significantly impact costs for companies using virgin plastic, making recycled content a more economically viable option. By financially incentivising the use of recycled content, the tax encourages businesses to invest in sustainable packaging solutions. The tax drives demand for recycled plastics, potentially leading to innovations and improvements in recycled material quality.


Switching from virgin plastic pallet wrap to recycled content in packaging operations is a strategic move that aligns with environmental goals and regulatory requirements. By carefully planning, testing, and collaborating with suppliers, businesses can successfully transition to more sustainable practices. The UK Plastic Packaging Tax further underscores the importance of this shift, offering both a challenge and an opportunity for companies to enhance their sustainability credentials. Embracing recycled content is not just about compliance; it’s about leading the way towards a greener future.


By following these steps and leveraging the incentives provided by regulations like the UK Plastic Packaging Tax, businesses can make meaningful progress in their sustainability journeys.