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The Plastic Packaging Tax

April 2022 is approaching fast and if you are using plastic packaging, you should develop a plan of action to minimize the cost increases the plastic packaging tax will bring.

From April 1st 2022, the UK Government will implement the Packaging Tax, a tax of £200 per tonne on all plastic containing less than 30% recycled material. The tax is aimed at reducing the use of virgin plastic in order to drive the growth of the UK plastic recycling industry.

In spite of popular belief, the government does not introduce new taxes very often, so it is good to be ahead of the game with this one. The plastic packaging tax seeks to promote the use of recycled plastic by stimulating end markets and providing economic opportunities.

By establishing and enforcing these measures, we can make a significant impact on the amount of packaging that goes to landfill. 

A future tax revenue increase will likely benefit recycling sustainability and waste management, much like the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste Regulations did.

In the UK, this tax targets companies that produce plastic packaging, import plastic packaging, or import filled plastic packaging, where the plastic packaging contains less than 30% recycled content per component. To illustrate the concept of per component basis, a drinks bottle provides a good example, consisting of a bottle, a label, and a lid (i.e. 3 components in total).

For UK manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging meeting the threshold of 10 tonnes and over, the tax due will be deposited quarterly with HMRC.

There is a clear economic reason to use plastic packaging with a high recycled content, as products containing 30% or less recycled content will be taxed at £200 per tonne under the new rules. If non-compliance is found, HMRC may check tonnage with other environmental authorities, such as the Environment Agency for the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste obligations.

Everyone will, in the end, pay for the affect the Plastic Tax has on the manufacturers and importers of the affected products as the prices will be increased to the consumer to compensate.

Officially;

  • Where the packaging or component is produced in the UK it is the producer (manufacturer) who pays the tax.
  • Where it is imported to the UK it is the person on whose behalf the packaging or component is imported who pays.

Care and due diligence will be required when there is a supply chain involved to establish who is liable to the tax.

Following the consultation period, many of the finer details pertaining to exports and transportation packaging will still have to be worked out – check back here regularly for any updates as we become aware of them.

Which of my products are affected by the tax?

If you buy or sell any of the below products you will need to start looking for eco-friendly alternatives, products that contain 30%+ recycled content or performance grade products that minimise the effect of the plastic tax.

Stretchwrap

Bubble Wrap

PP and PVC Tapes

Mailing Bags

Air void fill

Polythene Bags

Pallet Topcovers and Bags

PP Strapping

LDPE Shrinkfilm and Rolls

Woven PP Strapping

Polythene Foam

Plastic corner protectors

Polystyrene Loosefill and Sheets

Woven PP Bags and Tubing

Foam Edge Protectors

Bubble Mailers

Document Enclosed Envelopes

Labels

PP Twine

Cable Ties

Spacepack Air Cushions

What should I do about the tax?

Make a list of all your affected product lines

Speak to your suppliers and ask what the recycled content is in the affected products

If possible, work with your suppliers to swap your products to 30%+ recycled content options

Look at the way you pack and see if there are more efficient ways to reduce waste.

Look for alternative products like nano-plastics where weight savings outweigh the Plastic Tax

Make sure your current ERP system is able to create accurate waste reports for accurate reporting to HMRC.

Plastic Tax Friendly Products

Do you use lots of loosefill?

Heard of TheBoxer? Effective and protective paper voidfill – with available dispenser options.

Plastic tax exempt paper tape

Do you use many metres of tape?

Why not try using our water-activated gummed paper tape?

Efficient. Safe. Environmental. 

Plastic tax negating nano stretchfilm

How much wrap do you use per pallet?

We regularly find that warehouses are unwittingly using more than 50% more film to secure their pallets than they need to…

Reducing your pallet wrap weight by 50%+ can negate the effect of the plastic tax brings.

There really is no different way to package my goods...

Check out our “Plastic Tax friendly” range that has products with 30%+ recycled content.

What about Biodegradable Plastics?

As a company you may have moved to products that contain additives to help plastic break down over time, however there are certain issues with these types of products.

The Government is considering a ban on Oxo-degradable plastics. These are bio or fuel-based plastics that contain an additive designed to break down either under heat or sunlight. There is controversy over these products and they are already banned in Europe. Problems exist with the product potentially degrading prematurely as well as contaminating the recycling stream for LDPE and LLDPE. They simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces, creating microplastics that are harmful to the environment.

Last year, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi and Co-Op wrote an open letter to the Government calling for a ban on these products.

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