In a first for the industry, we are introducing a new bulk bag which has a minimum 30% recycled content. This falls in line with the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax.
Bulk bags, which are used to deliver aggregates to builders on construction projects and sites across the UK, will be subject to the new levy. Typically, bulk bags are made of 100% virgin-grade material. The tax means any business that manufactures or imports 10 tonnes or more of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic will be taxed at £200 a tonne.
This move follows the publication of our decarbonisation plans to achieve the Group’s SBTi approved carbon targets by 2035. In a year, it’s estimated that more than 350 tonnes of virgin-grade material will be saved from being used by making these changes to our bag.
We’ve been working closely with a key supplier, Centurion Industrial Packaging, since April 2021 to develop a bulk bag that reduces the level of virgin-grade materials. We needed to make sure that the recycled materials used are of a suitable quality.
The bags have passed both international independent safety standard tests, as well as our own rigorous internal testing processes, to ensure they're robust enough for use in branches and on site. The bulk bags were tested over 4,000 times in real-life situations and put under typical duress and strain that would occur when transported in branch and on site.
John Duffy, Senior Category Manager for Aggregates & Blocks says: “With the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax, there’s a clear incentive for everyone to switch to recycled plastic. Allied with our ambition to become a net-zero carbon partner to the industry, there isn’t a better time to introduce this bulk bag to our customers. This move will not only prevent unnecessary waste but also reduce plastic pollution. By offering this solution we believe we can help the industry make changes that together will add up to a big difference for our environment.”
As outlined in our fleet decarbonisation roadmap, 2022 will also see the business continuing to pilot sustainably-sourced HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) on the delivery fleet, transitioning Fork Lift Trucks to electric power, and provide alternative fuels to our Plant Hire fleet.