The UK’s plastic packaging tax: What you need to know

The UK has introduced a new tax on plastic packaging that will come into effect on April 1, 2022. Known as the UK Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT), this will affect businesses that manufacture or import plastic packaging, including packaging that already contains goods (such as plastic bottles containing beverages). The tax aims to encourage the use of recycled rather than virgin plastic in packaging (when permitted) and stimulate the increase of recycling and collection of plastic waste.

How will the tax work?

  • The PPT tax applies to plastic packaging that is manufactured in or imported into the UK, in which the plastic used in the manufacture is less than 30% recycled.
  • All plastic packaging will be assumed not to meet the recycled content requirement unless companies can prove otherwise.
  • The tax rate will be £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging for applicable companies. For example, if a company manufactures 10 tonnes of plastic packaging, and 1 tonne contains less than 30% recycled plastic, the company will need to pay £200.


Who needs to register for the tax?

  • Any business that manufactures or imports 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period needs to register for the PPT tax, even if their packaging contains more than 30% recycled plastic. In such a case, however, the tax won’t need to be paid.
  • This includes importers of packaging that already contains goods, such as plastic bottles containing beverages. If the packaging you import already contains other goods, the tax only applies to the plastic packaging itself.
  • Records will need to be kept, even if all the packaging manufactured or imported contains more than 30% recycled plastic.

The online platform for registration and payment will become available when the PPT tax takes effect on April 1, 2022. Read more information about registering for Plastic Packaging Tax.

Please reach out to our experts to learn how API can support your transition to this new packaging tax.