UK – Online retailers have made significant strides in reducing over-packaging, while many more have signed up to the UK government’s flagship Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT), Macfarlane Packaging study reveals.

The survey was conducted during July and August this year and saw the participation of 1,010 consumers.

These participants reviewed deliveries from a range of sectors, including fashion, food and drink, home, garden, health and beauty.

Macfarlane Packaging’s survey showed that retailers had reduced their excessive packaging by 25% compared with the company’s previous research in 2016.

In addition, 78% of the participants consider their packs to be sustainable, while 81% believe they are easy to recycle.

This implies that around 20% more online retail packaging can be recycled now than in 2020.

The survey also reveals that 27% of the respondents have decided to stop buying from retailers whose packaging was not sustainable, up by 8% from last year.

A further 11% of consumers were still unsure of the recyclability of the packaging they received.

According to the study, 60% of consumers received branded packages, almost doubling in the last three years. 40% of consumers confirmed that branded packaging encourages them to buy again from retailers.

Commenting on the survey results, Laurel Granville, Marketing Director of Macfarlane Packaging, says: “Responses to our unboxing survey this year demonstrate how retailers have been responding to consumer preferences and optimizing their packaging so it’s more eco-friendly and less wasteful.

“At Macfarlane Packaging, we’re working to support retailers to further these improvements with tools like our Packaging Optimiser, which can help businesses review the effectiveness of their packaging and assess its impact on costs and the environment.

“We hope retailers find the insights from this year’s survey useful for their businesses.”

Meanwhile, the study also confirmed that a growing number of retailers and suppliers have signed up for the UK Treasury’s flagship Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT).

According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), over 2,600 businesses across the UK successfully submitted their Q1 returns on time as of September 26th.

The first quarter of the tax raised around US$64.53 million (£58m) and went some way towards alleviating fears that PPT might not raise the US$261.46 million (£235m) projected for year one.

Kathy Illingworth, Head of Sustainability Consulting at packaging data specialist Ecoveritas, concluded: “It’s pleasing to see the number of registrations jump, but for a measure that would supposedly affect up to 20,000 businesses, there is still work to be done.

“HMRC will surely be keen to rachet up the pressure after some of the abysmal headlines and come down hard with penalties for late or non-filed returns.

“Businesses should look to partner with a packaging data specialist that can consistently deliver a highly efficient and transparent service without the need to scale up to meet the requirements.”

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