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The 2022 Plastic Tax and What It Means For the Plastic Industry

In 2018 the UK government made the decision to introduce a plastic packaging tax that will come into effect in April 2022. There are two million tonnes of plastic packaging used in the UK every year, with most of it being new plastic rather than recycled. Many businesses and producers who use large quantities of plastic packaging are becoming more aware of the damage plastic is doing to the planet. In an effort to combat the harm their packaging practices cause, many businesses are shifting to either non-plastic alternatives or to materials made from recycled plastic rather than new.

The UK government aims to introduce a new world-leading tax on businesses that import or produce goods which do not meet the minimum requirements for the amount of recycled content their products contain. The tax is set to be at £200 per tonne of material used that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic content. The tax is designed to encourage businesses to use recycled rather than virgin materials in production, which will by extension create greater demand for recycling and discourage the sending of materials to landfill or incineration. Businesses have been given until 2022 to adapt their practices to avoid facing this tax and to manage any costs involved in the transition, as well as having been offered support from local government across the UK. 

The UK is one of the top five processors of plastic in Europe due to the size of industries such as retail, construction and healthcare. The planned tax should facilitate the use of more recyclable plastics within these sectors, which will in turn reduce the amount of harm caused to the environment by plastic pollution and plastic production. This tax is meant to serve as a notice to the plastic industry just how seriously the UK government is taking the growing problem that plastic pollution is becoming. Plastic producers, manufacturers who use plastic and plastic recyclers are having it made clear just what is expected of them moving forward into the future.

In February 2019 the government held a consultation for their initial proposals of the plastic packaging tax which were agreed to by representatives of concerned parties, though there were disagreements over some specific aspects. Any business that uses plastic packaging can expect to make significant changes to their current practices to ensure they use plastic responsibly, and to take the burden of handling their waste off of local authorities. While many see this tax as a positive step, there are those pushing for even more corporate responsibility over sustainable business practices and more ambitious plastic reduction targets.

At Let’s Recycle It, we are dedicated to helping businesses deal with their plastic waste as responsibly as possible. We are experts in recycling all forms of plastic; we manage the entire process from identifying and separating polymers into groups, to choosing the ideal end user, to transport, handling, factory processing and resupplying recycled plastics back into industry. This is part of our goal to push towards a circular economy and combat the many problems we are facing due to the way we use plastic. We want to see further government support for plastic recyclers like us who are on the frontlines in the war against plastic pollution.

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