Britain Intends To Impose New Tax Plastic Packaging Tax

- Jan 04, 2021-

Not long ago, the United Kingdom issued a new tax-plastic packaging tax, which applies to plastic packaging and products produced in the United Kingdom or imported into the United Kingdom, and will take effect on April 1, 2022. Affected by this, online shopping platforms such as Tesco and Asda and large supermarkets have recently removed a large number of plastic products.

On November 12, the UK Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issued a new tax, the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT), which applies to plastic packaging produced in the UK or imported into the UK. The resolution has been enacted in the 2021 Finance Act and will take effect on April 1, 2022.

HMRC stated that the levy of the plastic packaging tax is to increase the level of plastic waste recycling and collection, and also to supervise and promote exporters to control plastic products.


The main content of the resolution on plastic packaging tax includes:

1. The tax rate for recycled plastic packaging less than 30% is 200 pounds per ton;

2. Enterprises that produce and/or import less than 10 tons of plastic packaging within 12 months will be exempted;

3. Determine the tax scope by defining the types of taxable products and the content that can be recycled;

4. Exemption for producers and importers of a small amount of plastic packaging;

5. Who is responsible for paying taxes needs to register with HMRC;

6. How to collect, recover and enforce taxes.

The tax will not be charged for plastic packaging in the following situations:

1. With 30% or more recycled plastic content;

2. Made of a variety of materials, the weight of plastic is not the heaviest by weight;

3. Production or import of human drugs for direct packaging license;

4. Used as transport packaging to import products to the UK;

5. Exported, filled or unfilled, unless it is used as transport packaging to export the product to the UK.

According to the resolution, British plastic packaging manufacturers, plastic packaging importers, commercial customers of plastic packaging manufacturers and importers, as well as consumers who purchase plastic packaging products in the UK are obliged to pay taxes. However, producers and importers of a small amount of plastic packaging will be exempted from taxes to reduce the administrative burden that is disproportionate to the tax payable.

Obviously, PPT has a very wide range of influence, which undoubtedly has sounded the alarm for relevant export companies and cross-border e-commerce sellers in my country, and try to avoid large-scale sales of plastic products.

Plastic restrictions and bans have long become important measures in the process of promoting sustainable development globally, and the plastic packaging tax is not the first in the UK. The EU special summit that closed on July 21 this year made it clear that the EU will levy a "plastic packaging tax" from January 1, 2021.

According to the announcement issued by the European Council on the same day, the EU will introduce new sources of income in order to "resource income and reduce expenditure" in response to the impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. One of them is to apply 0.8 per kilogram of disposable plastic packaging from January 1, 2021. The euro (about 6.4 yuan) is taxed at the tax rate.

As the EU’s budget for 2021-2027 still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, the announcement did not provide more details, such as whether taxes are levied on consumers or producers, the types of disposable plastic packaging that need to be taxed, and how member states submit relevant payments to the EU. Tax revenue, etc.

As early as 2018, the European Union decided to impose a tax on disposable plastic packaging. At that time, EU officials stated that the EU’s plastic waste exports were affected due to China’s prohibition on the entry of foreign waste. The EU hoped to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging and increase EU fiscal revenue through taxation.

After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia epidemic this year, as the EU plans to raise huge sums of money to restart the economy, the introduction of a "plastic packaging tax" has become more urgent. Previously, the media estimated that at a tax rate of 0.8 euros per kilogram, the EU could add 4 billion to 8 billion euros in tax revenue each year.

EU statistics show that the EU produces about 26 million tons of plastic waste each year, of which less than 30% is recycled. Most of the others are incinerated or dumped into landfills, and even more waste flows into rivers and oceans, causing serious environmental pollution. For this reason, in 2018, the European Union recommended that member states ban plastic tableware (including straws, cutlery, etc.), cotton swabs, balloon brackets and other common plastic garbage on European beaches to curb increasing ocean plastic pollution.

Faced with the irreversible consumer trend of banning plastics, many businesses have begun to plan ahead and make adjustments in advance.

With the advent of Christmas, the sales of some Christmas-related products are gradually hot, and most of these products, whether it is the chandeliers, stickers, Christmas trees used to decorate the house, or greeting cards that can be used as gifts, mobile phone cases, etc., most of them contain plastic Products or exquisite plastic packaging.

In response to the slogan of reducing plastic, Tesco has removed more than 20 million disposable plastic products from its Christmas series this year, including plastic-coated biscuits, lights, cards, and pudding. Tesco said that this is the first time it has removed more than 14 million self-operated biscuits, and removed a layer of plastic on Christmas pudding and sponge packaging.

Amazon also announced that it will not be able to sell disposable plastic products and products made of biodegradable plastics, such as tableware, plates, straws, blenders, and sticks that support balloons, in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Turkey from December 21.

Other large supermarkets in the UK have also removed many products from online and physical stores. Asda recently launched its first "sustainable Christmas series", which is said to save 66 tons of plastic this year. John Lewis and Waitrose have stopped selling toys and puzzles with plastic. For Marks & Spencer, this is the first Christmas that does not use black plastic on the holiday pudding to ensure that all packaging can be recycled by 2022.