Consultation closes on UK plastics tax

Over the weekend the UK Government closed its consultation on plans to introduce a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content.

The UK announced plans to introduce a new tax on plastic packaging as of April 2022, in its 2018 budget. It subsequently opened a consultation on the “world-leading” tax on single-use plastic packaging.

Over two million tonnes of plastic packaging is used in the UK each year. The vast majority of this is made from new, rather than recycled plastic. With this tax the government wants to encourage the “sustained use of more recycled plastic in the production of packaging”.

The exact plastics to be taxed will be determined by the consultation, but the initial proposal includes bio and compostable plastics.

“This definition would include bio-based plastic and plastics that are compostable, biodegradable or oxo-degradable, as well as fossil-based plastic. Although the government recognises there is an important role for bio-based, compostable and biodegradable plastic in certain applications, the objective of this tax is to shift demand towards the use of recycled material, and therefore the government’s initial proposal is that the tax will not distinguish between different types of plastic or different ways of design for disposal.”

Plastic bottles, trays, pots and lids are all likely to be included in the tax. This means coffee cup lids will be taxed unless they are made from more than 30% recycled material. Single-use coffee cups however are not included in this proposal.

This tax complements the Packaging Producer Responsibility regulations, which aims to encourage businesses to “design and use plastic packaging that is easier to recycle, and discourage them from creating plastic packaging which is difficult to recycle”.

While this tax may not be welcomed by everyone, it’s encouraging to see the UK stepping up and doing its part to reduce plastic usage. At Borg & Overström we’ve also been finding new ways of reducing plastic and general waste.

Our cups are now made from elemental chlorine-free pulp and coated in Poly Lactic Acid (PLA), which is made from vegetable starch rather than plastic. The packaging we use to ship dispensers in is made from sustainable material and can be recycled on-site.

Borg & Overström water coolers, cups, and refillable drinks bottles are available through our trade distributors.


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