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Overview of the Plastic Packaging Tax Consultation

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It is intended that the new tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic from April 2022.

You will need to consider whether you will be impacted by the tax, we have prepared a guidance note for REPIC scheme members to assist with this assessment. If you import finished goods with plastics packaging, import plastic packaging or manufacturer plastic packaging, and this packaging is more than 10 tonnes per annum after considering the specified exemptions, you should read the full consultation document at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/plastic-packaging-tax-policy-design 

Packaging includes materials for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods and products which are sold to end-users for use as packaging. Here there is a difference from producer responsibility for packaging waste which does not include items sold to consumers for use as packaging. Also transit packaging is excluded from the tax.

All types of plastics are covered including compostable and bio-plastics but not cellulose based polymers that have not been chemically modified.

The tax will apply to empty packaging imported into the UK, packaging around finished goods imported into the UK, and empty packaging manufactured in the UK, where it does not contain 30% recycled content. The tax will initially be set at £200 per tonne, and will be subject to review.

Recycled plastic means any plastic made from post-consumer plastic waste, and/or pre-consumer plastic waste excluding scrap or regrind. The 30% recycled content will be assessed on the basis of mass balance calculation. Plastic packaging will be presumed not to contain 30% recycled content unless it can be proved otherwise.

Businesses that have incorporated recycled content into their plastic packaging will need to be able to produce evidence of this recycled content, if audited. The rules about evidencing recycled content are not prescriptive but the evidence to substantiate the recycled content must be robust.

Businesses will be liable to pay the tax if they are importers of finished goods in plastic packaging, importers of empty plastic packaging, or manufacturers of plastic packaging. For packaging manufactured in the UK, the manufacturer/convertor will be liable to pay the tax.

The tax will start in April 2022. If, based on the previous 12 months, a business exceeds the 10 tonne de minimis, it will need to register for the tax by that date. The tax will be accounted for by making quarterly returns, in a similar way to VAT.

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