Plastic Packaging Tax

The Plastic Packaging Tax is now in effect as of April 2022. It means that businesses in many sectors must now start keeping detailed records of the packaging they import or manufacture. If a business imports 10 tonnes or more of plastic packaging over any 12-month period, they are required to register for the tax. This includes importing goods that are already packaged in plastic, such as cleaning agents in plastic bottles.

Any packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic is subject to the Plastic Packaging Tax. It will come in at £200 per tonne of plastic which doesn’t meet the minimum standard. If you are unable to prove that your packaging contains more than 30% recycled plastic, the tax will apply.

Record-keeping requirements
Even if you feel you do not need to register, it is important to keep a record of the packaging you import or manufacture. This way, you can demonstrate to HMRC that you do not need to pay the tax. Even businesses that import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging are required to keep this record.

In your record-keeping, you need to show:

  • The weight of the materials used in the plastic packaging
  • Data indicating the amount of plastic (and recycled plastic) within the packaging
  • The weight of any exempted plastic
  • The amount of plastic packaging exported for tax relief

Where can the information be obtained?

The information about imported packaging can be obtained from overseas manufacturers. Possible sources include:

  • Contracts
  • Product specifications
  • Business accounting systems
  • Production certificates
  • International standards accreditations
  • Invoices
  • Quality assurance audits

Is help available?
The Environment Agency may be able to offer some support with the record-keeping. They accredit plastic reprocesses for providers of recycled plastic for packaging applications.

There is detailed Government guidance on the new tax The best move is to try to avoid being liable for the tax by using more recycled plastic packaging or seeking alternative packaging types.

For the cleaning industry, chemical agents often require plastic packaging to keep them safe and in good condition. As such, cleaning companies and providers of these agents should be seeking out new opportunities to minimise the amount of non-recycled plastic in packaging, thus limiting liability for the new tax.