Recycled Content

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Increased concern for the protection of the environment has led to demands that materials should be conserved reducing dependence on finite natural resources and this in turn has led to pressure to increase recycling, particularly of packaging materials.

The disposal of wase is regarded as a growing environmental problem in the UK and the EC generally. The major proportion of waste generated in Europe is agricultural and industrial. the remaining portion is municipal solid waste of which packaging materials constitute about one third.

Packaging material is a highly visible fraction of waste, immediately apparent to the public. Because its volume (rather than weight) is significant and because litter is frequently of packaging origin, it attracts a disproportionate amount of public and media attention.

What is recycling?

Recycling is a process where waste is collected, sorted and is then converted back into a material that can be used again for the same or another purpose.

In order to help build a truly circular economy businesses are increasingly looking at ways to incorporate recycled content into their packaging.  This is no less true than in the area of plastics packaging. 

UK Plastic Packaging Tax

The UK Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) is a tax that will apply to finished plastic packaging manufactured in or imported to the UK (empty or filled), which is made from less than 30% recycled plastic.  The tax will come into force from 1 April 2022, at a rate of £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging.

The tax will apply to businesses who:

  • manufacture or modify plastic packaging in the UK; or
  • import plastic packaging into the UK, including that which is already filled.

You must register for the PPT if you manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period, regardless of its recycled plastic content. 

The PPT will apply to each finished plastic packaging component manufactured or imported to the UK containing less than 30% recycled plastic.  Plastic includes bioplastics, such as biodegradable, compostable and oxo-degradable plastics.

Plastic packaging which is exported from the UK within 12 months of being finished, is exempt from paying the PPT.

All businesses that manufacture or import plastic packaging must keep a record, regardless of whether they are liable to register for the tax or the plastic packaging is exempt. 

For more information please see the guidance from HM Revenue & Customs.

If you are a CTPA member, additional information is available in the Reference Zone.