What is the Plastic Packaging Tax?

The Plastic Packaging Tax is a first attempt at a tax of its kind, which will directly tax plastic packaging materials. The tax will apply to plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, and has been manufactured in, or imported into the UK.

It will be implemented on April 1st 2022, so it’s important to start making records as soon as possible in preparation for this.


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Key Information:

  • To avoid the tax, products must be made from a minimum of 30% recycled content.
  • The cost of this tax will be £200 per tonne.
  • Applies to businesses that manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period.
  • Packaging is considered plastic if it is predominantly made from plastic by weight.

  • Plastic packaging that is subject to the tax includes biodegradable, compostable, bioplastics and oxo-degradable packaging.
  • Recycled content includes both post-industrial and post-consumer waste. However, ‘recycled plastic’ does not include scrap or regrind recovered and reused during the manufacturing process. It must be reprocessed to qualify as recycled plastic.

Why is it being introduced?

Plastic pollution is very quickly becoming one of the greatest threats to our environment and our health, with 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year. Since its emergence in the 1950s, a shocking 79% of all plastic has ended up in landfills or the environment.

Essentially, the aim of the Plastic Tax is to change this typical route of plastic disposal and drive recycling technologies within the UK. The idea is that the Plastic Tax will drive demand for increased recycled content, thus creating an incentive for businesses to utilise recycled plastic at the manufacturing stage.

Therefore, Plastic Tax aims to combat the plastic pollution crisis by redirecting plastic away from landfill or incineration, and encouraging the transition to a more circular economy.

What does this mean for my business?

If your business is liable to register for the Plastic Packaging Tax, i.e. you import or manufacture over 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year, then you must register with HMRC, providing:

  • The name and address of the business
  • The VAT or Corporation Tax number, if applicable
  • The number of tonnes of plastic packaging imported or manufactured in the last 12 months
  • The person responsible at the business
  • The addresses of sites where plastic packaging is manufactured or imported to
  • Their bank details
  • A PRN producer registration number if the business has one

You must also keep records, collecting and reporting data.

It is advised that you keep records irrespective of whether you are liable to paying the tax or not, especially if you handle plastic packaging near to the 10T threshold.

As the new tax is introduced, companies using plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic content will incur greater charges. As such, each individual company’s costs will vary greatly depending on the nature and quantity of the packaging materials they are using. Determine your company’s Plastic Tax costs below using ComplyDirect’s free calculator:

How can Hazel 4D help?

The introduction of such taxes creates opportunities for companies to find more sustainable and cost-effective options, with lower costs for both business and the planet. By being aware of upcoming changes to legislation, you have the time to prepare, and the ability to find more eco-friendly and cost-effective products.

Here at Hazel 4D, we offer many sustainable alternatives, with paper-based products, products with a minimum 30% recycled content, and 100% recyclable products. Look for the icons on our shop to see our plastic tax-exempt products.

For products where the below 30% recycled content option may be the most suitable for your business, we can work with you to reduce your plastic waste by dramatically reducing the amount of film being used, whilst simultaneously improving load stability and reducing costs. This will ultimately reduce the costs associated with the Plastic Packaging Tax because your plastic usage will be reduced significantly.

Check out our eco productsQuestions about the Plastic Tax? Contact us

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