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The United Kingdom government is launching a consultation to help craft its potential plastic packaging tax, strengthening their commitment to use more recycled materials in packaging.

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The United Kingdom government is today launching a consultation to help initiate the potential plastic packaging tax, thus demonstrating their commitment to more recycled packaging. 


The United Kingdom is looking to bring in what it calls a ‘world leading’ plastic packaging tax by April 2022. Championed by the environment secretary Micheal Give it will apply in its current draft to all single use plastic packaging that isn’t produced from at least 30% recycled material. 


As you can imagine this has opened up a debate to decide exactly what items the tax would apply to and the validity of the 30% recycled content threshold. 


Also put forward in the consultation are schemes for Deposit and Return recycling which would apply to cans & bottles. 


Whats does a Plastic Packaging Tax include?


At present we consume over 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging in the United Kingdom a year. In spite of this staggering statistic the vast majority of this comes from newly made plastic packaging materials. Rather that recycled. 


With this tax the government is hoping to encourage the large multi national manufacturers to use more recycled content. 


It is a step in the right direction. At the moment plastic packaging waste simply ends up in landfills or incineration. Also the production of plastics by packaging manufacturers uses higher energy amounts & produces far more emissions that recycling processes. 


Can this be achieved?


The UK government has acknowledged that a plastic packaging tax needs to be achievable and realistic. 


It has stated that the 30% threshold is good for the foreseeable future. After all they do not want to discourage producers from making the necessary investments to not only meet the target but aim to exceed it in the future. 


The tax would be introduced in line with the revised packaging producer responsibility regulations. This focuses more on the design of plastic packaging and included initiatives for producers to design products that are easier to recycle.


Tax would include many Plastics!


So which plastics would be included? The government would get the definition from directive on single use plastics. They would include bio based plastics as well as biodegradable and oxo degradable. 


Plastic tray, bottles and lidding materials will also be included as well as products which contain plastic like Bulk packaging for hazardous materials


Its interesting to note that whilst different organisations could be supplied separate by various manufacturers. They buyer would still get taxed at the point of production.