All you need to know about the Plastic Packaging Tax

What is the Plastic Packaging Tax?

Back in 2018, the Government announced a new tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% of recycled plastic. The Plastic Packaging Tax, which will be introduced in April 2022, applies to all plastic packaging which is produced in the UK. It will also apply to imported plastic packaging – regardless of whether it is empty or filled.


The tax aims to encourage the use of recycled plastic, and it will act as an incentive for businesses to change their plastic production processes. The end result is to reduce the amount of plastic being sent to landfill.


Although recycling is far more common than it has ever been before, we still produce a lot of plastic waste. This is why the Government has proposed the new tax to encourage the use of recycled plastic within businesses. You’ll find everything you need to know about the new Plastic Packaging Tax below.



Who will it affect?


The Plastic Packaging Tax will mainly affect UK producers of plastics, and those that import it. However, it will also affect businesses who purchase goods in plastic packaging across the UK. In fact, the new tax is likely to affect around 20,000 producers and importers of plastic.


There are measures in place to ensure that smaller businesses are not unfairly affected by the measures. It is not expected to directly impact individual consumers, unless the tax is passed on to them in some way. In cases such as this, the charge should be nominal.



How will my business be affected?


Depending on the nature of your business, you will need to put measures in place to track the amount of non-recyclable plastic packaging you’re using.


The Government website suggests one off costs for the implementation of the tax could include;


  • Staff training on the new legislation
  • Implementing the relevant reporting to monitor the amount of taxable plastic
  • Administration for filing and paying tax returns
  • Research into different packaging options


Where you can, it’s best to use this period before the tax comes into play, to find better options for your plastic packaging. This will be time well spent, and likely reduce the amount of tax you’ll potentially incur.


The Government website stipulates HMRC will give clear guidelines before the tax is launched.



What are the facts so far?

So far, the key features of the new legislation include the following;

  • There will be a £210.82 per tonne charge on packaging which contains less than 30% of recycled plastic
  • The tax will be calculated by the amount of taxable plastic within the content
  • There will be some exemptions for those that produce and import smaller quantities of plastic packaging. The scheme aims to be as fair as possible
  • There will be £700,000 used as part of what is being called the ‘Extender Producer Responsibility (EDP)’ scheme. This is aimed at encouraging producers to reduce unnecessary packaging

More information is being provided on this all the time, so for up to date announcements, always check the Government website.



What do I need to do in advance?


For now, familiarise yourselves with the rules, and start preparing for any changes you may need to make in time for the launch. If you can find alternative plastic suppliers, and reduce your potential future tax charges, all the better.


The Packaging Pros at Springpack offer free packaging audits. Our audits identify how much packaging your company uses and analyses which areas could benefit from alternative packaging solutions. We can help you better prepare for the upcoming changes in legislation, take a look today.


As a supplier of plastic products, we are working hard with our supply chain to increase the amount of recycled plastics that go into our products. Watch this space for new products coming soon. Better still, why not view our complete range of eco-friendly packaging solutions here.

About the author

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Simon Rees
I am Springpacks Head of Marketing covering all aspects of marketing. I specialise in digital marketing with almost 15 years experience.
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