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Due to the impact of its carbon footprint, single-use and recyclability, plastic packaging has drawn growing attention from the public and media.

In 2017 the UK government called for evidence to use taxation in a bid to tackle single-use plastics. Following 162,000 responses, the intention to impose a plastics tax was announced by the UK Government in 2018.

A consultation period revealed more than 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced globally each year. As much as 40% of this ends up in landfill, whilst just 16% is recycled, 25% is sent for energy recovery and 19% is littered.


Who's Affected?

The tax will applies to both manufacturers producing and businesses importing more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year. It affects any business producing, importing and consuming qualifying products within the supply chain.


What's Affected?

  • Plastic packaging (including biodegradable, compostable and oxo-degradable) which contains less than 30% recycled content is liable for taxation.
  • Plastic must be the predominant component based on the item’s weight when compared with other materials from which the packaging is made.
  • Plastic packaging filled or unfilled when imported will be liable to taxation.Examples of qualifying products (taken from gov.uk website):
    • Carrier bags
    • Bin liners and refuse sacks
    • Food bags (such as sandwich bags)
    • Nappy sacks
    • Expanded polystyrene cups
    • Vending machine cups
    • Plastic wine and pint glasses
    • Party cups
    • Plastic bags including:
    • Disposable cups including:
    • Disposable plastic bowls and plates
    • Gift wrapping, such as ribbon and sticky tape
    • Ready meal and vegetable pouches and packets
    • Medical sharps bin (single-use)

What's The Cost?

A taxation of £200 per tonne will be applied to qualifying products.

Manufacturers and importers are expected to submit plastic tax returns to HMRC and pay tax due. Failure to do so will incur civil and criminal penalties.


What Are We Doing? 

We are working closely with the HMRC and our manufacturers, suppliers and importers to ensure we comply with regulations and taxes.

We will continue to update our customers on changing legislation.



Expected Outcome?

The increase in the recycled content of plastic packaging is expected to generate approximately 200,000 tonnes of CO2 saving per annum and an excess of £200M per annum for the Exchequer.

The introduction of tax on packaging with no or low recycled content will apply pressure to drive a circular economy, reducing the use of single-use plastics and manufacturer requirements for virgin material.





                 Plastic Tax, April 2022



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