Plastic Packaging Tax

Closes 12 May 2019

1. Overview of the tax

This consultation will seek views on the initial proposed design of the plastic packaging tax (“the tax”). The government is open to views on the best design options for the tax.  

The government proposes that the tax would apply to all plastic packaging manufactured in the UK and unfilled plastic packaging imported into the UK.  It would only apply to plastic packaging (as defined by the tax) with less than 30% recycled content. This consultation seeks views on whether this is the most appropriate scope of the tax in comparison to other options.

The definition of plastic packaging for the specific purposes of applying the tax would be set out in legislation.

Where there is one manufacturer involved in the manufacturing process the tax would be applied when the packaging product or component, such as a tub, tray or bottle, is made available for use or onward sale. This consultation seeks views on the most appropriate tax point where there are multiple manufacturers involved in a process.

For imported, unfilled plastic packaging, the tax would be charged when liable products are imported into the UK and released onto the UK market as plastic packaging or plastic packaging material which will be used to make plastic packaging. Unfilled plastic packaging that is exported would not be subject to the tax.

The tax would be charged on the full weight of the packaging product, at a flat rate set per tonne of packaging material.

Plastic Packaging Tax diagram

Currently within ‘The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007’ (as amended), converters are businesses which convert ‘packaging materials’ into ‘packaging’ and are the types of businesses likely to be liable for the tax. 

Not all converters will be liable for the tax; throughout this consultation those obligated to pay the tax will be referred to as ‘liable manufacturers’. 

The tax would be UK-wide, but the government is committed to engaging closely with the devolved administrations on its design. The government intends to share relevant responses to this consultation with devolved administrations.