The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) is calling for an exemption for pan liners from the Plastic Packaging Tax, due to come into force in April this year.
Pan liners are widely used in commercial bakeries and kitchens to protect pans and cake tins. Their use helps ensure longer life, saves on labour costs for time spent cleaning and reduces water and energy, the FPA noted.
However, HMRC classifies the pan liners as packaging, which puts them in the scope of the tax. Its view is that pan liners “meet the definition of packaging” and when not in the supply chain “fall under a single use product designed to be used by a consumer or user in performing one or more of the following functions in respect of goods or waste: containment, protection, handling, presentation and delivery”.
The FPA highlighted that the government body has granted an exemption for silage wrap. The intention of this exemption was to “exclude items from the tax which meet the definition of a packaging component but are manufactured or imported for a different primary purpose”.
As such, the trade body is calling for a similar exemption for pan liners.
“Many in hospitality won’t be aware pan liners are included in the scope of the tax, and some may not even be aware of how the tax will increase their costs,” said FPA executive director Martin Kersh.
“Packaging is designed to protect its contents. However, the role of pan liners is to protect pans – a completely different function from packaging. The exchequer secretary, Helen Whately MP, has been made aware of this anomaly and that it equally meets, if not exceeds, her criteria for exempting silage wrap.”
The FPA conducted a survey on LinkedIn and Twitter last week, with responses coming from non-members in hospitality and in answer to the question ‘Is a pan liner packaging?’ the answer was a resounding ’no’, with 92% disagreeing with HMRC’s view that pan liners are packaging.