How to prepare your business for the UK Plastic Packaging Tax – April 2022

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NOTE: Since this blog was published, the rate of the Plastic Packaging Tax was increased in April 2023 to £210.82 per tonne. From 1st April 2024, the tax will be applied at £217.85 per tonne. 


The UK Government will implement the UK Packaging Tax in April 2022, applying a tax of £200 per tonne to virgin plastic material. The aim of the tax is to discourage the use of virgin plastic, driving growth in the UK plastic recycling industry.

I appreciate that at this point, April 2022 does sound a long way off but, if you are managing a high number of packaging SKUs, you should be thinking about a plan of action to minimise the increased cost implications.

Who will be affected?

The tax is aimed at UK producers of plastic packaging, importers of plastic packaging, business customers of producers and importers of plastic packaging, and consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging in the UK.
Follow this through the packaging supply chain and the tax will manifest itself as price increases to customers who purchase any material that contains only virgin plastic material or, less than 30% recycled content.


How to prepare

It’s time to take stock of the packaging you use, giving yourself ample time to assess the options open to you.

Start by collating a list of packaging containing plastic material, specifying the amount of recycled content each item contains. Your packaging supplier should be able to provide you with this information.

For any items containing less than 30% recycled content, it’s time to start exploring the opportunity for replacement. Either switching to a non-plastic alternative or a material which meets the recycled content criteria.

If you’re managing lots of packaging SKUs this may sound an odious task but, you may be surprised to find that a review of the packaging you’re currently using may uncover opportunities to improve your business efficiency and reduce costs. Packaging plays a huge role in speeding up the way you pack or allowing you to fit more product on a pallet or vehicle load.


Environmental Impact Rating

At Macfarlane Packaging, as part of our commitment to helping you make informed choices about your packaging, our products are listed with an Environmental Impact Rating. Each product shows an OPRL recyclability rating, the recycling category and the minimum amount of recycled content it contains.

We are also increasing the amount of recycled content in our plastic packaging, for example our hand applied blown stretch film now contains 30% recycled content and our AirCap® bubble wrap contains 50%.

Environmental Impact Rating


Macfarlane Packaging are on hand to support your business. We can help you prepare for the UK Plastic Tax and uncover opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs. Contact us today to arrange a review of your packaging.

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