UK to introduce tax on plastic packaging

13.03.2020 − 

The UK is moving ahead with plans to tax plastic packaging that does not incorporate recycled material. The tax will initially be set at £200 per tonne (ca. €227/t) and be applied to plastic packaging with a recycled content of less than 30 per cent, under the 2020 Budget published on Wednesday. The new plastic tax will is to be levied on both imported packaging and domestically manufactured packaging sold in the UK. Current plans call for exported packaging to be exempted. The tax is to go into effect in April 2022. In subsequent years, it is to be adjusted with the consumer price index.

According to HM Treasury estimates, the tax will generate income of £240m in the 2022/23 budget year, declining by £5m the following year and by a further £15m in 2024/25. The reduction is expected due to a "behavioural response" as producers incorporate more recyclate in their plastic packaging or switch to other materials.

The measure would "tackle the scourge of waste plastic" said Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his budget address. The British government expects the tax to increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by 40 per cent.

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