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New UK Plastic Packaging Tax Legislation

Could 3D Printing Reduce Plastic Waste?

What is it?
The government is proposing to introduce a new plastic packaging tax in April 2022. This tax will be levied on UK manufactures and importers of plastic based products. The proposed tax will be £200 per tonne for all plastics manufactured or imported into the UK which do not contain at least 30% recycled material.

The government has produced a consultation paper to outline their proposals. The proposed tax is at a relatively advanced stage in the legislative process and it is very unlikely that it will not be passed into law.


What is the purpose?
The purpose of the tax is to create a market for recycled plastics, thus driving down the use of virgin material and ultimately reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill or littering the environment. The consultation paper states:


The tax will be set at a rate that provides a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in the production of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for recycled plastic, and in turn stimulate increased levels of collection and recycling of plastic waste.

Who will be affected?
The tax is aimed at UK producers of plastic packaging, importers of plastic packaging, business customers of producers and importers of plastic packaging, and consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging in the UK.

This measure is expected to impact on up to an estimated 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging.

In simple terms, if you are purchasing plastic packaging without 30% recycled content, you will be paying more as producers and importers pass the cost of the tax on to end-users.

The tax applies to ALL plastics including bio-based plastic and plastics that are compostable, biodegradable or oxo-degradable, as well as fossil-based plastic. The only exception currently is plastic made from natural polymers that have not been chemically modified.

The tax is not exclusive to single use packaging. It includes all types of packaging. The legislation uses the Packaging Producer Responsibility regulations definition of packaging which is; all products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the user or the consumer. Non-returnable items used for the same purposes shall also be considered to constitute packaging.

Companies below £2 million turnover or who manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic per year will be excluded from the tax. 

How to avoid this charge
There is still time to make changes to your packaging by sourcing alternative recycled material, or even changing your packing method entirely. Some alternative options are:

Parcel Tape
Paper tape is a fantastic alternative to traditional polypropylene tape, as it has no plastic at all. More info here...

Parcel Strapping
Paper strapping is a new product and has lots of benefits over polypropylene strapping - again it is entirely plastic free. Read more here...

Allpack can help you avoid this new tax by sourcing either 30% recycled content plastic packaging, or by switching to plastic-free alternatives, or even by changing your packing method completely. Why not have a chat with us today?

Contact us to find out more >