The Government is on a mission to improve the sustainability of packaging, whether that means better design, an evaluation of materials or its inherent ability to be reused or recycled. Recently the Government took the step of introducing a tax on plastic packaging, to encourage more sustainable practices.

To help our customers, we’ve put together a Q&A for the most common questions:

What is the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT)?

The Plastic Packaging Tax is a tax on plastic packaging manufactured or imported into the UK that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

Why has it been introduced?

The lifecycle for plastic has not been supported as well as the lifecycle for paper and packaging which is reflected in the relative recycling rates. According to Statista, “In 2021, 5.4 million metric tons of paper and cardboard packaging was created by households in the United Kingdom. Of this total, 3.8 million metric tons was recovered, giving a recycling rate of roughly 71 percent. In comparison, 2.5 million metric tons of plastic packaging was generated that year, with just 44.1 percent recycled.”

The Government want the industry using plastic packaging to implement ways to improve recycling and consequently make recycled plastic easier to use in new packaging manufacture.

How much is the tax?

The tax came into force on 1 April 2022 and is charged at a rate of: £200 per tonne from 1st April 2022 raising to £210.82 per tonne from 1st April 2023.

UK manufacturers of plastic packaging and importers of plastic packaging are affected so long as they are responsible for more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year.

What will do businesses need to do?

Two things: The first requirement is accurate data collection of all plastic packaging being used. This means identifying the items affected, calculating the total weight, categorising the amount of plastic being used and, if the item is using mixed materials, calculating any recycled content. Once complete, the second requirement is an evaluation of the tax payable needs to be made and a submission of the data to the governing body. Full guidelines are on the HMRC website.

What are my choices?

This is a good time to evaluate your company’s packaging choices and look at the most cost-effective, efficient and sustainable options. This will include considering increasing the use of recycled content and alternative packaging materials.

How are Sandland Packaging helping?

Corrugated is an inherently sustainable, strong and robust material. Where suitable and appropriate, it will be worth looking into whether bespoke corrugated packaging could provide an alternative to plastic materials. Our friendly team are experienced in evaluating customer packaging requirements and designing suitable corrugated packaging that can replace plastic and polystyrene. Read how we replaced foam layer pads for an electronic manufacturer.

Get in touch for a chat, sample or quote.

As with all legislative matters, please check your obligations with your own compliance and legal departments. More information is available on the GOV website: