The UK Plastic Packaging Tax is scheduled to start on 1st April 2022. The tax aims to encourage greater use of recycled plastic and help tackle plastic waste. It is aimed at UK manufacturers of plastic packaging and importers of plastic packaging (including the importation of filled plastic packaging). Any plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% of recycled plastic per component will be charged a tax of £200 per tonne. For example, a drinks bottle consists of a bottle, a label, and a lid (i.e. 3 components in total). Businesses are exempt from paying the tax if they manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a 12-month period. However, even businesses who make or use less than ten tonnes a year will have to keep records – this new regime will affect everyone who uses plastic packaging.

April 2022 is fast approaching. With significant financial and administrative effects for both plastic manufacturers and importers, it is imperative that businesses can identify their requirements and responsibilities and develop a plan to minimise the cost increases the plastic packaging tax will bring.

What Products Are Affected by the Tax?

If you buy or sell any of the below products you will need to start looking for eco-friendly alternatives, products that contain 30%+ recycled content or performance grade products that minimise the effect of the plastic tax:

  • Bubble Wrap and Stretch Wrap
  • Plastic Corner Protectors and Foam Edge Protectors
  • Bubble Mailers and Mailing Bags
  • Document Enclosed Envelopes
  • Cable Ties
  • PP Twine
  • Labels
  • Polythene Foam
  • PP and PVC Tapes
  • Air Void Fill
  • Polythene Bags
  • PP Strapping
  • Polystyrene Loosefill and Sheets.


There are 4 exemptions from the tax, regardless of how much recycled plastic they contain:

  1. Medical packaging
  2. Transport packaging used on imported goods
  3. Packaging used as aircraft, ship, and rail stores
  4. Components that are permanently designated or set aside for use other than as packaging.

More in-depth information can be found here on the website.

How to Prepare for April 2022


Conduct an audit. The best place to start when looking to reduce plastic waste within business is with an audit. What is the extent of plastic usage within your business? How much of this could be eliminated entirely? What percentage is recycled? Could product designs be amended to reduce the use of plastic? Carry out an assessment to see where and why you use plastic items. Then make notes on changes that can be made to cut plastic use from your workplace - tackle the easy changes first, then put plans in place to make the harder changes over the coming months.


Talk to your suppliers. If you work with suppliers, request that they use plastic-free or less plastic in their packaging. Buy in bulk wherever possible and in concentrated amounts if available. If possible, work with your suppliers to swap your products to 30%+ recycled content options.


Switch to non-plastic alternatives. There are a variety of non-plastic packaging alternatives available on the market. Swapping over can help you lower the amount of plastic you’re using. If plastic is the only solution:

  • Look for alternative products (such as nano plastics) where weight savings outweigh the tax, or
  • See if there are more efficient ways to pack to reduce waste. The use of plastic in transit packaging is certainly not something we can get rid of immediately, but businesses can have a major impact on the weight of plastic transit packaging they use if they move to the new generation of thinner, high-performance pallet wraps for example.


Efficient waste tracking system. Make sure you have a system in place which can create accurate waste reports for HMRC.


For more information on how to reduce your plastic waste, please visit 5 Ways Businesses Can Reduce Plastics.


If you think your business could be affected, it is important to act now. Agritel supplies a complete range of thin high-performance films for hand and machine application. We can help most businesses to reduce their plastic use and save money at the same time. Call us now on (01691) 671 496 to arrange a weighing trial to see just how much you can help our environment and how much you can save.