The Introduction Of The Plastic Packaging Tax (Blog)

What is the new Plastic Packaging Tax?

The Plastic Packaging Tax is a tax on all plastic packaging which is not comprised of over 30% recycled materials. The tax will apply to all plastic packaging imported into or manufactured in the UK. The tax will however not be applicable to any packaging which consists of over 30% recycled materials or packaging which is not predominantly plastic by weight. The new tax measure will be introduced on the 1st April 2022 and will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne.

Why is it being introduced?

The tax is being introduced just two weeks after the annual recognition of Global Recycling Day which took place on Friday, 18th March this year. The event (which was first launched in 2018) has seen a significant growth in importance and recognition since its launch. The event was established to “help recognise, and celebrate, the importance recycling plays in preserving our precious primary resources and securing the future of our planet” states the Global Recycling Foundation.


Recycling is now globally acknowledged as a key concept in safeguarding the world's future and in decreasing the amount of waste created. The plastic packaging tax is being introduced as one of several measure by the UK Government to help meet the goal of increasing the levels of recycling in the UK and pushing companies to do more to make sure their products are created from sustainable resources and recycled materials. 

What is the objective of the policy?

Taken directly from the UK Government website, they state that “The aim of the tax is to provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material. In turn this will stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.”

Who will be affected by the changes?

Importers or manufacturers of plastic packaging in the UK are most likely to feel the effects of the new tax. Additionally, companies using or creating products that are not comprised of over 30% recycled materials will see the new tax placed upon their products.

What are the hoped outcomes of this?

The UK Government states that "The rationale of this tax aims to increase the use of recycled plastic in plastic packaging and it is estimated that as a result of the tax the use of recycled plastic in packaging could increase by around 40%. This is equal to carbon savings of nearly 200,000 tonnes in 2022 to 2023, based on current carbon factors."

The alarming statistics!

Statistics from Plastic Ocean paint a bleak picture!


  • Currently 10 million tons of plastic are being dumped into our oceans each year.
  • Less than 9% of all plastic produced at the moment is recycled.
  • 50% of all plastic produced each year is single use only. This means it is only used once in a product and then thrown away, usually to landfill.
  • Over 1 million marine animals are killed by plastic pollution each year


Want to read more? provide some great statistics on the need to cut the reliance on single use plastics.