April 2022 is when the UK government’s Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force – less than 3 months away. It’s part of a new law to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and cut our reliance on virgin plastics, which accounts for more than 40% of the UK’s plastic use every year.

The objective of the tax is to “provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic material in plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.”

With only a few months left until the UK government introduce the new tax, we have created a simple guide to the Plastic Packaging Tax to highlight what is coming:

– Who will have to pay the tax
– What it means for your business
– Cost increases you may see in other areas of your business
– 30% recycled content packaging solutions
– Paper-based alternatives

The Plastic Packaging tax will apply to plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, unless an exemption applies – so check here if you need to register.  Manufacturers or importers of 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period must register for the tax.

With just over 3 months to go, it’s important to act now! The best way to solve the problem of the impending deadline is to review your current packaging and contact your supplier. At Law Print, we can do this for you and advise on alternative solutions wherever possible.

Key considerations are:

1) The UK importer or UK manufacturer is liable
2) Products that are majority plastic are liable
3) Products with less than 30% recycled content are liable

We urge any business making material changes to seek advice from packaging supply experts, and also consult your local or national waste management service providers, to avoid falling into the trap of solving one problem only to create another. Trying to eliminate plastic packaging as a whole might not be the best solution and cause more harm to the environment in the long run and add to an already very critical issue that food waste is for example.

Our best chance of solving the plastic crisis is through collaborative working across supply chains and policies that support plastics recycling in the UK and further afield. With more infrastructures and kerbside collections re-aligned across all councils, most plastic materials can be recycled efficiently and re-used. Think recycled bottles, bin liners or park benches!

The tax rate will be £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging manufactured or imported into the UK. The government predicts the new tax will increase recycled content plastic by 40%, equal to 200,000 tonnes of saved carbon in 12 months.

Preparation is key

There’s no doubt that it will be a challenging period for many businesses as the new tax beds in – as well as the cost of the tax itself, there will be associated administrative costs for all businesses affected. That’s why thinking about the changes you can begin to make now in preparation is so important. Speaking to your packaging supplier is a crucial part of that preparation.

At Law Print, we can perform an audit of current packaging used and advise on products that are either tax-exempt or other ways to manage the use of plastic packaging. It’s not about getting rid of plastic altogether – sometimes plastic really is the best option – it’s about choosing it carefully and using it wisely.

However, if you’re interested in paper-based packaging, we also offer a large assortment of paper packaging that can be used for a multitude of different applications such as flour, sugar, food produce, charcoal, construction materials and many more applications. Until now, the legislation allowed for up to 15% plastic content to be used on paper bags to provide extra protection, especially for pet food packaging, but this will be reduced to 5% by 2023, so check out the latest guidelines with OPRL.

If you would like Law Print Pack to help you source alternative packaging to avoid the new plastic tax or step in the right direction with our Ready2Recycle range, whilst also improving your environmental footprint, please get in contact with a member of our team who can talk you through the products and services we can offer.

We’re also aware that a plastic tax will be implemented in other European countries such as France and Italy but this will not be until January 2023. In the meantime, we will keep you updated regarding the UK tax and will release a new blog with information on the Plastic Packaging Tax in the countries applicable when available.

Don’t wait until it is too late, just contact us to get started!

If your brand wants to invest in quality packaging, we will guide you through the entire print process. In addition, we are providing recommendations along the way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and add untold value to the end product.

Contact us on +44 (0) 161 440 7302 or follow this link to complete our contact form.


About the author