The Government has announced its 2018 Budget Brief that will introduce a new tax on produced or imported plastic packaging which doesn’t include at least 30% recycled content.

The new tax will be introduced on plastic packaging from 1st April 2022.

Subject to consultation, this will mean that any business that produces or imports plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled content will have to pay a tax.

The Government has said the tax will provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in the production of packaging which in turn will create greater demand for this material.

Businesses will have until April 2022 to adapt their processes before the introduction of the tax.

The Government suggests the timeframe will give businesses enough time to adjust their behaviour and manage any costs they face while ensuring action is still taken to tackle this important environmental issue.

The Budget Brief also outlines an intended spend of £20 million to tackle plastics and boost recycling.

An estimated £10 million will be spent on more plastics research and development and £10 million spent to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter, such as smart bins.

This plastic packaging tax will work hand in hand with a reformed Packaging Producer Responsibility System.

Plans will be set out later this year to reform this system to make businesses who make and use packaging, including plastic, more responsible for the clean-up and recycling cost of that packaging.

A consultation on both these new policies will take place in the coming months.

Ian Wright CBE, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) chief executive, commented on the plans: “While we are committed to reducing packaging waste and working with Government, the new tax on plastic packaging will result in significantly increased costs for UK food and drink manufacturers, due to the input costs required to produce food-grade recycled packaging.”

To read the full Brief, click here.