Plastic Tax is here, see what we’re doing about it
Plastic Packaging Tax is being implemented across the UK from the 1st of April this year; learn how your business could be impacted.
With concerns around single-use plastic growing, the UK government will be implementing a new tax from 1st April. The Plastic Packaging Tax aims to increase demand for recycled plastic and reduce the consumption of new plastic materials. The tax is aimed at manufacturers and UK importers of plastic packaging, however these changes will benefit our planet.
Why is plastic bad for the environment
Disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years or more. (1) Plastic is an unsustainable material – it cannot biodegrade, and a large percentage of the plastic cannot be recycled either. As well as this, 33% of all plastic is used once and then thrown away, which ends up in landfills. Furthermore, Pollutant additives and breakdown by-products in plastics increase the long-term risks to the environment through soil and groundwater contamination.
Away from landfills, plastic is also harmful to the oceans and wider ecosystems. For example, more than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons, are currently afloat at sea. (2) That’s why these new Plastic Packaging Tax regulations are being introduced.
As a business, we’re always looking to support our customers the best way we can, whilst ensuring sustainability is kept in the forefront of our decision-making processes.
What is the new Plastic Packaging Tax?
The new requirements will ensure that any business that manufactures or imports plastic packaging components into the UK will need to submit a return to HMRC every quarter to comply with plastic packaging tax. Businesses must submit the return and pay any tax due no later than the last working day of the month following the end of the accounting period.
If your business is affected, you’ll need to register for Plastic Packaging Tax if you’ve manufactured or imported 10 or more tonnes of complete plastic components within the last 12 months or intend to do so in the next 30 days. This is a new tax that will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
The aim of the tax is to provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacturing of plastic packaging, this will create more demand for the material and actively encourage more sustainable business decisions. In turn, this will stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration, and in turn improve our combined carbon footprint.
Who is likely to be affected?
The new Plastic Packaging Tax requirements are estimated to effect over 20,000 manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging.
What plastic is taxable?
Plastics include polymers that are biodegradable, compostable, oxo-degradable. If a plastic packaging component is made from a range of different materials but contains more plastic by weight (including additives that form part of the plastic) than any other substance, it will be classed as a plastic packaging component for the purposes of the tax.
What should your business do next?
Firstly, you should check if you are eligible to pay plastic tax. You can do this by visiting the government website.
If you are eligible, you’ll need to check if you need to keep records. Plastic packaging is assumed to not meet the recycled content test; however, you must demonstrate that it does.
Following this, you must consider if you need to amend your paperwork, such as invoices, to show a customer how much plastic packaging tax has been paid on the goods.
It’s important to note that the accounting periods are 1 April to 30 June, 1 July to 30 September, 1 October to 31 December, 1 January to 31 March. Therefore, each period must be accounted for.
Using Recycled Alternatives
Plastic packaging components are not chargeable for Plastic Packaging Tax when they contain at least 30% recycled plastic as a proportion of the total weight of plastic. If you want to claim this exemption, you must have records that:
- Show how you’ve worked out the percentage of recycled plastic.
- Provide sufficient supporting evidence that recycled plastic was used.
- Specify which dates the evidence relates to, such as the dates that the components were finished or imported.
- Demonstrate which plastic packaging component the percentage relates to, including product lines or production runs.
- The records must also provide an accurate reflection of the proportion of recycled plastic contained in the output materials of that recycling process.
- And confirm the source of the recycled plastic.
For example, sufficient evidence could be the product specification showing the recycled content of a plastic packaging components and details of any due diligence checks you’ve done.
If the specifications or the materials used to make a plastic packaging component change, you must keep separate evidence for each specification.
For more information on Plastic Packaging Tax, visit the government website: Introduction of Plastic Packaging Tax from April 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
View our Plastic Tax dedicated webshop landing page here: Plastic Packaging Tax – Lyreco UK | Online Shop | Office