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The Plastic Packaging Tax and you

19 Jul 2021

Words in italics are taken from the current Government paper. The link to this is provided at the end of this article

You may have heard of rumblings of a plastic packaging tax coming in next year, but what exactly is it and what does it mean for your business?

We take a look at the why, when, how, and what next, to help you get to grips with the changes.


The Government has decided that a tax on certain types of packaging is necessary, and this will apply to businesses that ‘manufactures or imports plastic packaging, including if you import packaging which already contains goods (such as plastic bottles)’.

It is to encourage the use of recycled rather than new plastic within plastic packaging to drive forward increased levels of recycling and the collection of that plastic waste, so it doesn’t end up in landfill.


If this does apply to you, then you must make preparations to be able to deal with this when it becomes law from 1st April 2022.


The tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into, the UK where the plastic used in its manufacture is less than 30% recycled.
The rate of the tax will be £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging. Businesses will be required to keep records and, in most cases, register for the tax, even if all the packaging you manufacture, or import, contains more than 30% recycled plastic.

What next?

If you are a business that manufactures or imports 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period you will need to register for the tax. This is regardless of whether you will have to pay any tax.

You will also need to check if you need to keep any records as this will be mandatory for some businesses.
Whilst we recognise that plastic is an essential packaging material for so many businesses there will also be businesses that may benefit from making a substitution and using a recyclable material such as corrugated board, instead of a plastic solution.

Corrugated packaging is incredibly versatile, can deliver unrivalled strength and delivers a sustainable solution; perhaps you should explore the options that may be open to you ahead of the tax implementation.

To read more details about the tax please visit Get your business ready for the Plastic Packaging Tax – GOV.UK ( Please note that legislation for this is still going through Parliament and has not yet been signed into law.

To get in touch with any of our Boxes and Packaging teams please visit