The new plastic tax, more pressure on the food industry


CATEGORY: JAVIER ROMERO, editor of Infopack

The entry into force on January 1 of the new plastic tax is raising hackles in the food industry.

The tax applies to the use of non-reusable containers that contain plastic - which covers a large part of the products that make up the shopping basket. Quite logically, it is leading to a more than well-founded and foreseeable fear of significant increases in food prices.

In fact, several associations in the sector, including the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) estimate the direct impact of the Special Tax on Non-Reusable Plastic Containers on companies in the sector will be €690 million. And this is without considering the effect of the Producers Extended Responsibility, which could mean an additional increase of €1.150 billion. In a statement, the entity itself states that, "In the current circumstances, with unaffordable energy costs and rising inflation, a new tax is unaffordable for companies in the sector".


Everyone knows that the objective of this tax is to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic and promote the circular economy; that is, the reuse and recycling of materials. This is all very laudable, in times of special obligatory awareness of the environment. However, as can be seen, this has a significant impact on the food industry, where many food products are sold in single-use plastic packaging. There is real concern among some sectors of the food industry that the increase in the prices of products could affect their competitiveness in foreign markets, since Spain is the only EU country that will apply this tax, and may therefore see reduced demand for its products.


So, is it possible to find a balance between sustainability and the real economy? To be able to pay this tax, many food companies have had to increase the prices of their products or look for more sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging. Some companies have chosen to use reusable or biodegradable packaging, while others have adopted more efficient recycling practices. Indeed, measures like this will help to promote greater social awareness about the environmental impact of plastic packaging, but it is undeniable that they generate concern among some food industry sectors, due to product price increases which may even put the viability of some companies at risk.


At InfoPack, we have been aware for a long time of the difficulties that businesses have in balancing their circular strategy with financial aspects. Some difficulties, it must be added, have been the result of the regulatory activity of the different administrations, from European to regional and even local; however, at the same time, they have promoted innovation in seeking more ecological alternatives.


So I believe it is our responsibility, from this platform, to call for calm and to study the real impact of this tax on the food industry - and therefore the packaging industry - in a few months. From my experience, I have no doubt that innovation always triumphs and manages to overcome any challenge - even that of a higher tax burden. We will all have to wait and see.


Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!



Fco. Javier Romero

Editor Infopack Magazine



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