Plastic Tax Requires Drastic Action

plastic tax

Leading UK plastic recycling company, Bright Green Plastics, explains why British brands and businesses must start planning now to avoid being faced with large plastic tax bills.


Earlier this year, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content will come into force in April 2022 to increase the demand for recycled materials and reduce carbon emissions, and is set to impact manufacturers, importers, their customers and even end consumers. 

For many companies, 2022 may seem a long way off, particularly as they work through the effects of the lockdown, however, it’s critical that businesses activate their research and development measures now to allow enough time and capacity to successfully make the transition and future-proof their long-term production capabilities with recycled plastic compounds.

Maintaining high standards of product packaging that’s as close in quality and manufacturing capabilities to virgin plastic may take around 18 months. This would allow for the development of a bespoke formula that closely mimics their existing packaging, followed by extensive trials to test and, in certain cases, upgrade equipment to adapt to new formulas and ensure systems are in place to allow for at least a 30% increase in recycled materials – if not higher. 

Managing director of Bright Green Plastics, Steve Spencer, explains: “Some of our customers already produce packaging with 100% recycled materials. However, there are some that are below the 30% level who we are currently working with to bring them higher than the minimum requirement. This will not only ensure they’re ticking the box for April 2022, but are prepared for future potential amendments to the plastic tax legislation, as well as enabling them to be more environmentally-friendly in the long term. We would recommend all businesses aim for a higher recycled plastic content benchmark than the minimum 30% – particularly as the outcome is likely to be unnoticeably different from virgin materials.”

Bright Green Plastics’ patented BrightFusion additive has been developed to transform recycled plastic into a material that’s imperceptibly close to virgin PP and PE plastic. This means the West Yorkshire-based plastic recycling facility is able to recover and redevelop 40,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year for a wide range of industries and applications, including packaging, automotive, construction and horticulture. The upcoming plastic tax is set to boost the use of recycled plastic by 40% and reduce carbon emissions by 200K tonnes by creating greater demand, stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste and, ultimately, keep perfectly good, reusable plastic resources away from landfill or incineration.  

Steve Spencer concludes: “recycled plastic provides a good quality, sustainable and CSR-friendly alternative to virgin plastic and we applaud the chancellor’s decision to bring in this tax.  
“However, British companies successfully hitting targets and maintaining quality will depend on them establishing long-term, trusting, collaborative relationships with their recycled compound suppliers to get the very best outcome. Unfortunately, capacity for the supply of high quality recycled polymer and custom-made formulas is currently low in the UK, and companies are facing the option of having to settle for mass-produced, lower-quality imported compounds with the risk of compromising the quality of their product packaging if they don’t take this upcoming deadline seriously and act quickly”. 

Bright Green has developed a plastic tax guide for businesses, click here to discover more: https://brightgreenplastics.com/uk-plastic-tax/

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