BPF urges government to respond to consultation on mass balance / Industry argues approach would boost chemical recycling
The British Plastics Federation (London; has written to treasury minister Gareth Davies, urging the government to respond to the findings of its own consultation on whether the “mass balance” approach should be adopted when determining the amount of chemically recycled plastics used in any given plastic packaging product.

The UK government has yet to respond to the BPF consultations, which closed in October (Photo: Pexels/Lina Kivaka)

The letter, which in addition to the federation has 15 compatriot signatories, including the Packing Federation, Recoup, the Chemical Industries Association, and the Food & Drink Federation, argues that the UK has “a real opportunity to be the leader in chemical recycling” and that “the commitment to allowing a mass balance calculation to be used within the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) is a key enabler for this.” 

The mass balance consultation, organised by HMRC – which is responsible for overseeing the PPT – was launched in July last year and closed twelve weeks later in October, but ministers have yet to respond.

HMRC said the process was designed to “explore the application of a mass balance approach to determine the amount of chemically recycled plastics in a plastic packaging component for the purposes of the PPT”. 

Related: UK government plans update to plastics packaging tax

The government had wanted to hear industry’s views on whether a mass balance approach should be accepted as a way of allocating recycled plastic content to packaging, and, if so, which controls and standards should be adopted to ensure the integrity of the tax, which is not applied to a packaging product if it contains at least 30% recycled plastics.

Determining how much recovered material was being used could be an issue in some instances, the government said, and while chemical reclaim offered a solution which could address the limitations of mechanical recycling, “outputs from virgin and recycled feedstock are indistinguishable and cannot be identified and traced in the end product produced”.

The government said it would “welcome information about the environmental impact of chemically recycled plastics and evidence on the carbon impact of chemical recycling compared with different end-of-life treatments such as landfill or energy from waste”.

In the four months since the consultation’s closure, however, it has failed to comment on the exercise’s findings, leaving the UK plastics industry to wonder and wait.
23.02.2024 [254728-0]
Published on 23.02.2024

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