The tax is in response to the increasing urgency of the climate crisis and aims to tackle plastic waste from companies in the UK, one of the things that is contributing to the crisis. In fact, a huge 2.4 million tonnes of plastic are produced and used every year in the UK, so this is the first step to tackling that.
The tax will encourage businesses to think of more sustainable alternatives to packaging and be more innovative with the way that they ship their goods. It is likely to get very expensive for businesses who don’t start thinking about alternatives!
Who will be taxed?
All businesses who use/produce over 10 tonnes of plastic a year will be liable for the tax and the liability will fall to the first business to commercially exploit the liable packaging.
What will be taxed?
All plastic packaging components where the recycled content is less than 30% (in weight) will be liable for the tax and this includes biodegradable plastic - unless its (over 30%) recycled it will be taxed.
This means even things like fizzy drinks in plastic bottles could be liable but note that it is measured on weight.
There are a small number of exceptions including plastic packaging for medicines and imported goods as well as those that are in transit through the UK.
For the purpose of the new tax legislation, recycled content must include resin produced from post-consumer waste (PCW) - alternatively known as post-consumer recycled waste (PCR). It will not include post-industrial waste (PIW) because its impact on the environment is not as great.
For the time being, this means that until scalable solutions for recycled content are available, businesses might be best focusing on reducing or replacing the overall amount of plastic used in packaging.
This is something we already do at Complete Packaging and are actively preparing for come April next year.
Some of the things we already do here at Complete (which will prepare us for the plastic packaging tax) include the following:
- We use FSC certified materials throughout all suppliers
- In printing we use soy and vegetable inks where possible
- We are constantly innovating new ways to be more sustainable with our packaging
If you’re concerned at all about your own supply chain, please do get in touch with us here at Complete Packaging and Fulfilment and we can help you out.