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The Proposed UK Plastic Tax Countdown Has Begun…

By 18/03/2022No Comments

Everything, To Date, That You Need To Know About The UK Plastic Tax

No doubt you have familiarised yourself with the UK Plastic Tax by now, but if not and even if you have, here is our latest update.

The countdown has begun with less than 3 weeks to go to the 1st April 2022… are you ready?

The government is shortly introducing a UK tax on ALL plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled materials. You can read the HMRC ‘Introduction’ article here.

The introduction of this tax is the result of the worldwide issue of plastic waste (check out our previous blog for more information on this). Therefore, as an incentive to drive demand for recyclable materials and divert unnecessary waste away from landfill and incineration, the Government consultation for a proposed UK plastic tax closed on 20th August 2020.

The UK Plastic Tax will affect numerous businesses. From manufacturers and importers of packaging, to their business customers and any consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging.

Mountain Beauty Tarnished By Plastic Waste

To summarise, this is pertinent to:

  • UK manufacturers of plastic packaging
  • importers of plastic packaging and plastic packaging filled with goods
  • business customers of manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging

With that in mind, Eastpac has compiled everything currently available that you need to know about this new tax. Plus, how it could potentially affect your business. Read on to discover what you can do to minimise the effects.

How Will The New Plastic Tax Affect My Business? 

Unfortunately and frustratingly, many manufacturers and importers are using and producing plastic irresponsibly. Consequently, the new legislation will provide a clear financial incentive for businesses to take responsibility for their packaging production process and waste.

According to Government statistics, the plastic tax is said to boost the use of recycled plastics by 40% and ultimately reduce carbon emissions by 200,000 tonnes. By generating greater demand, increasing levels of recycling, perfectly good, reusable plastic resources are kept away from landfill.

A key point is that all plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, will be charged a tax of £200 per tonne. As a result, packaging which is not predominately plastic by weight will be exempt from the charge.

Essentially, all plastic packaging will be liable to the tax, whether or not it’s filled or unfilled with goods, materials or products.

Bales of Plastic Waste

What Steps Can I Take To Minimise The Effects?

You can read the HMRC government ‘steps to take’ article here to assist you in answering any questions that aren’t clear and there are also suggested steps to take within this article.

Eastpac Group are perfectly placed to help you in sourcing replacements for current plastic materials. There are numerous alternatives available, for example, either recycled content or even consider an entirely new solution.

To help, here are a few pointers to help you get started:

1) Polypropylene or vinyl tape – if you’re applying tape to your packages, there is the option to switch to a water-activated paper-based tape. Self-adhesive paper tapes are also available! Check out our previous blog explaining all about the different tapes Eastpac offer.

2) Plastic Mailing Bags – paper mailing bags are available. Even though they are made of paper, they can be treated to repel water and protect the contents from becoming damaged. You could also consider switching to either recycled content or a lower micron bag.

3) Stretch wrap – If you are using a machine stretch wrap, now is the perfect opportunity to switch to a performance film. By swapping to this alternative, you can dramatically reduce the amount of material required.

4) Polythene Products – items like pallet covers, re-usable roll-stackers, bags and airbags can all be made with recycled content.

How is the EU tax levy different from the proposed
UK plastic tax?

We understand that there is some confusion over the difference between the EU and UK tax levy. In July, the EU approved the implementation of a new plastic tax levy from 1st January 2021. Whilst it’s called a “tax”, strictly speaking, it is a direct charge to member states by the EU. Additionally, the money generated will go towards an EU Coronavirus recovery fund.

The levy focuses on non-recyclable plastic materials. Each member state is required to pay €800 per tonne of non-recyclable plastic used. Individual country contributions will be calculated based on their own national waste database figures. 

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The UK will not be subject to this member state payment due to leaving the European Union. However, it will have a knock-on effect on those businesses that import plastic packaging from Europe.

Overall, the EU levy places a focus on non-recyclable plastics. Ultimately, putting pressure on the industry to consider waste reduction at product end of life. Whereas, the proposed UK taxation – to be introduced next month April 2022 – places the focus on “non-recycled content plastic”, with tax being implemented on material that contains less than 30% recycled content.

April 2022 is virtually upon us. Even though the recent pandemic may have interrupted most businesses plans, workflow and trading levels, the time to act has really passed. The deadline for this change in legislation remains and can’t be forgotten about.

If you have left it late or are still struggling to source competitive replacement products or looking to introduce more recycled materials in your packaging production, get in touch with Eastpac to form a long-lasting trustworthy supplier relationship with solutions to your requirements.

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