Can a plastic tax change the attitudes of modern businesses?
Supply strives to meet demand, and the wheel of the economy turn, but this system has brought the planet to the brink of environmental disaster; however, the cause of the problem might also be the solution. As demand changes and becomes greener, businesses must also conform.
There have been big changes in the supply and demand dynamic of the economy, but in some cases, these changes have not gone far enough; there is still too much plastic packaging going to landfill thanks to the e-commerce industry. To enact change, the government has a new levy.
Plastic tax purpose
There’s no doubt about it; plastic is a problem, especially the type of virgin single-use plastic that fills boxes from Amazon and other e-commerce services. Tons of single-use plastics enter landfills every year, and plastic has become a new target of government regulations in the UK.
As with the sugar tax, the UK government is attempting to change perceptions around the use of harmful products. The new tax put disposable plastic packaging into the same category are other single-use plastics such as plastic forks and spoons and polystyrene coffee cups as well.
The levy that is placed on plastic packaging is quite substantial, especially for businesses with large online imports. The government will charge a tax of 200 pounds per tonne for packaging that is less than 30% recycled, making some businesses think twice about plastic.
As well as changing the attitudes of many in the manufacturing and importing industries, the latest taxation is incentivising them to seek new solutions to the packaging problem. E-commerce is big business, and packaging is needed that provide value without the cost.
Manufacturers, importers, and businesses are incentivised to track their packaging and stay within the boundaries of acceptability; at the same time, they are encouraged to use sustainable plastics if possible. Sustainable plastics made from corn, sugar, and vegetable oil are popular.
Sustainability experts have welcomed the tax as nine out of ten businesses have yet to create net-zero targets. Perhaps governmental taxation has come along at the right time, encouraging businesses to use more recycled plastics and invest in sustainable long-term alternatives.
The e-commerce industry is worth billions of pounds every year, but the effect on the environment is a concern when you consider the amount of single-use plastic packaging used in the distribution chain. Supportive fulfilment services that use sustainable practices are suitable.
E-commerce businesses looking to simplify their supply chain and make it more sustainable long-term need a system that offers a comprehensive solution to new taxation and a changing economy. Packaging taxation might be the first of many supply chain changes in e-commerce.
In 2018, the UK government introduced the sugar tax, which put a levy on soft drinks that contain more than 5 grams of sugar. The aim was to reduce pressures on the health service by protecting the general health of the public. Overall, this taxation has been successful, which is encouraging for the latest green taxation. Moving forward, we can expect more green levies.