Everything you need to know about the UK plastic tax 

In April 2022, the government will introduce a UK tax on ALL plastic packaging which doesn’t contain at least 30% recycled materials as an incentive to drive a demand for recyclable material and divert unnecessary waste away from landfill and incineration.

It will affect producers and importers of plastic packaging, their business customers and any consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging, so it’s time to get prepared and wise up to the facts. Here’s the lowdown: 

What exactly will be taxed?

Plastic packaging produced in, or imported into, the UK that does not contain a minimum of 30% recycled plastic will be taxed £200 per tonne. The tax will not apply to packaging which is not predominantly plastic. 

All plastic packaging will be liable to the tax, whether or not it’s unfilled or filled with goods, materials or product, which is very likely to be passed on to business customers and end consumers. 

Why is there a need for plastic tax?

Sadly, there are many manufacturers and importers using and producing plastic irresponsibly, so this new legislation will provide a clear financial incentive for businesses to step-up the use of recycled material in the production of packaging. 

The plastic tax is set to boost the use of recycled plastic by 40% and reduce carbon emissions by 200K tonnes by creating greater demand, stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste and, ultimately, keep perfectly good, reusable plastic resources away from landfill or incineration.

How will this tax affect my business?

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, stated during his budget speech on 11th March 2020 that “from April 2022, we will charge manufacturers and importers £200 per tonne on packaging made of less than 30% recycled plastic”. 

This could amount to huge sums of money being demanded from your business by the UK government unless recycled plastic of 30% or above is used in all plastic packaging. 

What can I do to minimise the effect of this tax?

Use recycled plastic compounds in your products. Some manufacturers are already already incorporating recycled plastic into their packaging, which is a great start – however, many are still using less than 30% due to misplaced lack of confidence in the quality of the material. 

We use our patented BrightFusion technology in our own recycled compounds which results in a material that’s the closest possible to virgin plastic, which means that some of our customers are even using 100% recycled material in their product packaging. 

So, what now?

April 2022 is rapidly approaching. The COVID-19 outbreak may have interrupted most businesses ability to trade as before, however, the deadline for this change in legislation remains and mustn’t be forgotten. There is limited capacity in the UK to produce recycled compounds and it’s critical companies conduct R&D work with immediate effect to ensure they secure some capacity and have products available before April 2022.

Contact Stephen.Spencer@brightgreenplastics.com to tap into our 20 years of experience in supplying recycled plastic polymers and get your 30% recycled plastic business plan in place.