The UK Government has confirmed the introduction of a plastic packaging tax from 1st April 2022.

Introduced as part of the 2021 Budget, the tax aims to encourage greater use of recycled plastic and help tackle plastic waste.

Key points:

  • The tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK containing less than 30% recycled content. The tax will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne.
  • Businesses will need to register for Plastic Packaging Tax if they have manufactured or imported 10 or more tonnes of finished plastic packaging components (where the packaging is subject to the tax) within the last 12 months, or will do so in the next 30 days.

To register:


HMRC have also recorded two webinars to assist companies:

If you’d like to understand more about the Plastic Packaging Tax, VARTAN can help. Please contact us.


The Detail: When packaging is considered plastic

For the purposes of Plastic Packaging Tax, plastic means a polymer material to which additives or substances may have been added. This does not include cellulose-based polymers which have not been chemically modified.

Additives include materials such as calcium or dyes. When you assess the amount of plastic in a packaging component, the additives are classed as part of the plastic.

Plastics include polymers which are:

• biodegradable
• compostable
• oxo-degradable

If a plastic packaging component is made from multiple materials but contains more plastic by weight (including additives which form part of the plastic) than any other substance, it will be classed as a plastic packaging component for the purposes of the tax.

The other substances which you need to consider are:

• glass
• aluminium
• steel
• other metals
• paper and board
• wood
• any other substance

You will need to keep records to show what substances are in plastic packaging.

Recycled plastic

Plastic packaging containing 30% or more recycled plastic is not chargeable for the tax. However, it still counts towards the 10 tonne threshold for packaging you manufacture or import in a 12 month period, and you must still keep records of it.

Find out how to work out the percentage of recycled plastic in your packaging.

Recycled plastic is plastic that has been reprocessed from recovered material by using a chemical or manufacturing process, so that it can be used either for its original purpose or for other purposes.

This does not include organic recycling.

Recovered material

Recovered material is pre-consumer plastic or post-consumer plastic that has been collected and recovered as a material input. It’s used for a recycling or manufacturing process instead of new primary material. Recovered material would otherwise have been disposed of as waste or used for energy recovery.

Pre-consumer plastic

Pre-consumer plastic is plastic which is recovered from waste generated in a manufacturing process. It is then processed by a reprocessing facility, which could be on the same site as the manufacturing process. It does not include plastic that is reused in the same process it was generated as scrap, and from which it was recovered. This is often known as scrap and regrind.

Post-consumer plastic

Post-consumer plastic is plastic that is generated by the end user of the product. The product can then no longer be used for its intended purpose. The consumers are:

• households
• commercial facilities
• industrial facilities
• institutional facilities

This includes returns of materials from the distribution chain.

Packaging subject to the tax

There are 2 types of plastic packaging subject to the tax. These are packaging designed to be suitable for:

• use in the supply chain
• single use by the consumer

If your packaging is made up of several packaging components, you must account for Plastic Packaging Tax on each component.

Individual packaging components are generally manufactured separately before being assembled into a packaging unit. Examples include:

• bottles, caps and labels are manufactured separately before being assembled to make packaging units for drinks and liquids
• trays, boxes and plastic windows are manufactured separately before being assembled to make packaging units for certain foods, such as pies and cakes

Packaging designed to be suitable for use in the supply chain

You should check whether each plastic packaging component that you manufacture, or import is subject to Plastic Packaging Tax.

A plastic packaging component is a product that’s designed to be suitable for use in the supply chain, from the manufacturer of the goods to the user or consumer. It can be used alone or in combination with other products.

If the packaging component meets the definition, it does not matter if it is produced or imported for use in the supply chain of the goods, or by a consumer or user.

It must do one or more of the following functions:

• contain the goods
• protect the goods
• handle the goods
• present the goods
• deliver the goods

Examples of packaging components include plastic:

• trays used to contain and protect food, such as a ready meal tray
• film to protect goods, such as film around raw meat
• pots designed to handle and deliver products, for example yoghurt pots

Packaging designed to be single use consumer packaging

For the purposes of Plastic Packaging Tax, single use consumer packaging is any single use product designed to be used by a consumer or domestic user in performing one or more of the following functions in respect of goods or waste:

• containment
• protection
• handling
• presentation
• delivery

These products would be used by the consumer rather than in the supply chain.

Examples of single use consumer packaging are:

• plastic bags
• disposable cups, plates and bowls
• gift wrapping such as ribbon and sticky tape