What is the Plastic Packaging Tax?
Coming into effect in April this year in the UK, the Plastic Packaging Tax is an environmental tax applied in the hopes it will provide businesses with an incentive to use recycled packaging instead of plastic. If packaging manufactured, or imported, into the UK does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, there will be an extra fee to pay.
Any business that imports plastic packaging or products contained in plastic packaging into the UK or manufactures plastic packaging in the UK will be liable to register for the Plastic Packaging Tax and pay any tax due if they exceed the threshold of 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum.
Why has it been introduced?
The aim of this is to reduce the increased level of plastic packaging being thrown away and diverted into landfills or incineration. It’s estimated that because of the tax the use of recycled plastic in packaging could increase by around 40%. This is equal to carbon savings of nearly 200,000 tonnes in 2022 to 2023, based on current carbon factors.
An increased demand for recycled plastic should also result in greater recycling and collection of plastic waste, reducing the carbon footprint of the UK and helping the planet.
What does this mean for the cleaning industry?
The industry is already focusing on how to make cleaning more sustainable, with the concept of ‘green cleaning’ becoming more prominent. One of the key areas of concern for businesses improving sustainability is reducing plastic waste at 75%, and when it comes to cleaning, a lot of products are packaged in plastic.
In the face of this tax, many cleaning product manufacturers will be looking to see how they can make their packaging out of recycled materials at a big enough percent to not be affected by the tax.
Currently, the cost of green cleaning products is more expensive as there isn’t too much of a demand for them (yet). However, as this tax comes into play and sustainability efforts increase, cleaning companies and the general public may have no choice but to purchase eco-friendly products.
As recycled packaging becomes the norm, to evade the tax and for the greater good, more innovations will be discovered, and the price (both manufacturing and sales) will lower.
Will this come into effect outside the UK?
The EU introduced a plastic packaging levy back at the beginning of 2021, with certain territories within the EU looking to introduce further taxes at the beginning of 2023.
The introduction of this kind of tax in both the UK and the EU may prompt other territories to follow suit.