Is it time for a tax on wasteful packaging?

After reading your article on corporate responsibility, I was duly greeted by headlines announcing the potential introduction of penalties or rewards for the poor or successful management of household waste. This made me cringe – knowing how much we generate for our customers.

As I continued to pick this story up through other media, it became clear that the blame has been dumped squarely on the consumer.

The issue of over-packaging, once high on the agenda, seems to have slipped down the scale of importance, being replaced by the thought that 20 layers are OK, provided they’re environmentally friendly – whatever that really means.

Then, there’s the suggestion that we, as an industry, are at the helm, which is rarely the case. Some consultancies may have the power to affect change in this area, but, for most of us, our client’s established manufacturing processes and cost restrictions – plus excessively strict health and safety guidelines – force

our hand. Our ambitions may be eco-friendly but, when push comes to shove, the client’s decision is final and, of course, our consultancies need feeding.

The solution? Impose significant levies on packaging that, when passed on to consumers, affect purchasing behaviour. As we know, consumers want to do the right thing, but they are not always prepared to pay for it.

Richard Bland, Creative director, War, by e-mail

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