PPA responds to HM Treasury’s plastic tax call for evidence

Amy Owens

In response to the government’s recent proposal to tax non-reusable plastic, the PPA has outlined its stance in a submission to HM Treasury.

This submission calls for the government to consider the impact of punitive tax measures that would threaten the publishing industry.

While the PPA welcomes this investigation into the problem of plastic waste, the government should be mindful of the intended consequences, which could impact negatively on an industry already undergoing significant change and suffering from external pressures.

Plastic wrapping provides a key service for publishers, ensuring magazines reach consumers in good condition. This represents only a small fraction of the plastic waste and subsequent policies should take this into consideration.

Through the PPA’s Sustainability Action Group (SAG), the UK magazine publishing sector is aware of the environmental concerns regarding single-use plastics and has been researching and investigating alternative solutions for over five years. 

The SAG has an active membership that goes to great lengths to limit the environmental impact of magazine publishing and to promote sustainable practises across the industry. Through the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Responsibility Deal, the PPA’s members continue to test various packaging options to reduce the amount of plastic used.

The PPA welcomes this call for evidence to showcase these efforts. However, no viable alternative to plastic wrapping is available at present. Publishers should not be penalised for the small amounts of plastic used to ensure consumers receive the best quality product.

In order to enact major change, practises require government support – through further research into alternative materials and investment in local recycling centres – to accommodate a more diverse range of plastic products.

In regards to a tax system or charges related to plastic, the government must fully understand the consequences of such changes. It must also implement exemptions to these charges for industries – like publishing – where large-scale economically-viable alternatives are unavailable and the industry can demonstrate a commitment to finding longer-term solutions.

Read the PPA’s full response here.

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