UK's new Plastic Packaging Tax - Retail Council of Canada
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UK’s new Plastic Packaging Tax

April 20, 2022

On April 1, 2022, the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) came into force requiring businesses to pay a tax (£200 per metric tonne) if they produce or import packaging made with less than 30% recycled plastic.

Importers and manufacturers of plastic packaging are required to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), unless they are below 10 metric tonnes over a 12-month period. This threshold was identified to alleviate administrative burden for smaller importers and producers. Retailers that produce their own branded consumer products will be subject to the PPT.

For mixed material packaging, the tax must be paid if plastic is the heaviest component by weight. For example, a container made of 40g of cardboard and 70g plastic would still be considered plastic packaging.

The goal of the tax is to economically incentive businesses to reduce the use of virgin materials and generate demand for recycled resins. This in turn will help increase plastic collection and recycling levels while contributing to broader circular economy goals. Spain has also proposed a similar tax of €450 per tonne on non-reusable plastic packaging. For more information, visit the UK Government’s website here

As Canada looks towards its goal of zero plastic waste by 2030, the federal government has begun developing regulations, including the Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations and Minimum Recycled Content Standards. As Canada typically looks to Europe for policy best practices, one would think that a tax on virgin plastic may come under consideration at some point.