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Which Packaging is Subject to the Plastic Packaging Tax?


Following recent updates to government legislation, it has become essential for businesses to get to grips with the details surrounding the Plastic Packaging Tax and to make sense of recent changes to the associated legislation, to ensure accurate reporting of material use and avoid the incurrence of financial penalties.

To help you to better understand the latest guidance surrounding which packaging materials will be classed as taxable come April 2022, here’s a rundown of the key facts.

Classifying plastic packaging 

  • Principally, the tax is on polymer materials to which additives or substances (such as calcium) have been added, and therefore not on cellulose-based polymers that have not been modified 

  • For the purpose of evaluating the plastic content of your material, additives are included as part of the plastic 

  • Included in the classification of plastics are polymers that are biodegradable, compostable or oxo-degradable

  • Packaging components containing more plastic (including those made from additives) than any other material will be classed as plastic packaging 

  • Government directives advise businesses to consider a range of substances (including: glass, aluminium, steel and other metals, paper, board, wood and any other substance used in the packaging component) and make a record if they’re contained in plastic packaging components 

  • The tax is chargeable for finished packaging components

  • Plastic packaging containing 30% or more recycled content will not be chargeable, though it must be recorded as part of your overall import/manufacturing figures over a 12-month period  

  • Pre and post-consumer plastics are both included in a ‘’recovered material’ classification in the legislation, while recycled plastic is defined as that generated from reprocessing the recovered material. Find out more

Packaging types that are taxable

Both the following packaging categories are classed as taxable:

  • Packaging components used in the supply chain, such as trays, containers, film and labels 
  • Single-use consumer plastic, such as carrier bags, disposable cups and bin liners 

For a more exhaustive list of taxable packaging, and to learn more about tax-exempt packaging components, read the government guidance here.

Want more information? Check out our blogs

- Government Makes Six Amendment to the Plastic Packaging Tax
- Understanding the UK Plastic Packaging Tax
- Preparing for the UK Plastic Packaging Tax

Looking to reduce your plastic packaging use? We’re on hand to provide expert consulting services and guide you through the transition to greater packing efficiency and high-performance, environmentally sustainable alternatives. To find out more, send us a message, or call 01543 396700 today