Plastic Packaging Tax

The government is to introduce a tax on plastic packaging from April 2022.

We can help your business prepare for the impact of the Plastic Packaging Tax on your business.

What is the Plastic Packaging Tax?

The UK government has confirmed its plans to introduce the new Plastic Packaging Tax from April 2022, with the aim of encouraging greater use of recycled plastic and to help tackle plastic packaging waste. The new tax will be delivered separately to the reform of the producer responsibility regulations, but the government believes that the two will complement each other and will provide businesses with the right incentives to recognise the impact of decisions around plastic packaging. They also hope it will drive the development – and use of – more sustainable packaging.

Who will be obligated for the Plastic Packaging Tax?

The tax is expected to have a significant impact on businesses, with around 20,000 producers and importers affected across a wide range of industries, including retail, construction and manufacturing.

The new tax will cover packaging that is either produced in the UK, or imported into the UK market. Imported packaging will be liable for the tax, whether it is filled or unfilled (i.e. with product in it). The tax does not apply to any packaging that has more than 30 per cent recycled content, or any packaging that is not predominantly plastic by weight. Following the consultation held in 2019, there will now be an exemption from the requirement to pay the tax for any business that manufactures or imports less than 10 tonnes of packaging in a 12-month period. This is to ensure that the smallest businesses are not “disproportionately impacted”, and that the administrative burden and cost of collecting the tax are proportionate to the environmental harms the tax seeks to address.

What evidence will I need?

Taxable businesses will need to hold and supply a range of evidence. This is likely to include:

– The total weight of all plastic packaging manufactured in, and imported into, the UK. This is to exclude packaging which is used to transport imported goods and any packaging before it is in free circulation.

– The proportion of recycled plastic as a percentage of total plastic by weight.

– Whether the packaging is predominantly plastic by weight.

– The date the packaging was manufactured, imported into free circulation, exported or removed from a Registered Export Premises for use in the UK.

– All taxable businesses will also be expected to carry out due diligence on their supply chains and processes which form the basis of the calculations underpinning their Plastic Packaging Tax returns.

Plastic Tax Legislation

As of the 12th November, following consultation and stakeholder assessments, draft legislation is now available detailing the scope of the tax, chargeable componentsexemptions, the tax credits that will be available for exports and many other essential factors should you be liable for this tax.  

If you know you may be subject to paying this tax it is essential you read through the current draft document to understand how best to prepare.

What will the Plastic Tax cost my business?

The government has set a rate of £200 per tonne on plastic packaging placed onto the UK market that has less than 30% recycled plastic content. This rate will be subject to review to ensure that the tax remains effective in increasing the use of recycled plastic.

The costs to each business will vary. We can provide an impact assessment of the Plastic Packaging Tax on those businesses affected which will help you prepare for the changes ahead. Fill in our contact form to talk to us about getting a forecast of your costs, or if you have any questions or concerns about what the tax means for your business.

Questions about the Plastic Tax?

Please get in touch, a member of our team will answer your query as soon as possible.


    Government Response summary: DRS

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    England to introduce single-use plastics ban by October 2023

    The Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, announced the ban of a range of single-use plastic items in England from October 2023.

    2nd February 2023

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    EU to toughen packaging regulations

    The European Commission’s radical proposal to change the rules on packaging is set to reduce packaging waste by 15% per member state per capita by 2040.

    1st February 2023

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