The UK Plastics Pact: Help reporting your progress

Gareth Edwards summarises what information businesses are required to gather to report progress towards the UK's Plastics Pact targets, and outlines how Valpak can help with data collation, collection and form submission.

The UK Plastics Pact was set up by the not-for-profit charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). The Plastics Pact brings together industry across the plastics supply chain collaboratively with the UK government and NGOs with the aim of eliminating unnecessary plastic waste and moving towards a circular economy for plastics, through meeting the following four targets by 2025:

  1. Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items
  2. 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  3. 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  4. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging

Reporting progress towards these targets can prove difficult, even for businesses familiar with submitting annual packaging waste obligations under the UK’s Shared Producer Responsibility Regulations. Pact reporting requires far more detailed packaging data and has a wider scope than the Packaging Waste Regulations, with problematic non-packaging items placed on the UK market included in the report. To help members get started, we have prepared a list of information needed to report your business’s progress towards Pact targets.

The Pact Data Form

Most Pact members will be familiar with calculating the yearly packaging tonnage they place on the market split by material; however, to calculate the recyclability of members’ packaging, The Plastics Pact form requires that businesses break their packaging down further to the individual component level, allowing it to split its total packaging placed on the market into the following categories:

  • Pots, tubs and trays
  • Other rigids
  • Film / bags
  • Bottles
  • Tubes
  • Other / unknown format

The Pact also requires a greater level of knowledge about each packaging component, which can prove difficult for retailers at the end of the supply chain to collect, such as plastic polymer, level of recycled content, material colour and whether it contains any metal components.

Reporting problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging Items

To calculate progress towards the Plastics Pact’s target of eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items, businesses need to know the units and tonnage of each ‘item to be eliminated’ listed below placed on the UK market in the past year:

  • Disposable plastic cutlery
  • All polystyrene packaging
  • Cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Plastic stirrers
  • Plastic straws
  • Oxo-degradable that break down to create microplastics
  • PVC packaging
  • Disposable plastic plates and bowls

This will also require sourcing weights, as well as purchase quantities for non-packaging items, such as single-use cutlery, cotton buds and straws – Including those used in staff and customer restaurants.

Beyond the initial plastic packaging types to be removed (listed above), the most recent Plastics Pact report details a list of a further 19 packaging items that are being investigated to potentially be added to the eliminated list – If no sustainable amendments can be made.

How Valpak can help

The UK Plastics Pact is playing an important part in reducing the environmental harm caused by plastic pollution. As members and official data partners of The UK Plastics Pact, Valpak can help businesses contribute towards this cause. Valpak are experts in the Pact’s reporting requirements and have already helped a variety of Pact members with their data submissions.

Valpak can assist members in sourcing accurate and up to date packaging data; our unique product and packaging weights database, EPIC (Environmental Product Information Centre) already holds over 23 million weights from a range of products, and we can also assist members gather additional packaging data required for pact reporting, through in-house weighing projects, using a polymer reader to record packaging polymers. As well as sending mailings to suppliers to further source difficult to find recycled content and polymer data.

In addition to data gathering, Valpak can help members calculate and fill the Pact data form. We offer two Pact reporting services to suit members’ needs; we can use members’ yearly sales and packaging data to manually populate the data form on their behalf. Alternatively, we can use a bespoke page on our online Insight Platform to summarise and display the data required for pact reporting, providing members with visibility of the individual products and packaging contributing to their submission. To find out more on either of these options please contact our team on 03450 682 572.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.