In the first six months since the Plastic Packaging Tax was introduced in the UK in April, over £135 million has been added to government coffers by firms paying the compulsory duty - which was introduced at £200 per tonne (and is currently levied at £210.82 per tonne) of packaging that contains less than 30% post consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
This figure was revealed in a Freedom of Information request by Duo - a plastics manufacturer and consultancy - and reported widely in the industry press last month. The request also included figures for the tonnages of packaging that paid the tax (679,143) and packaging that was exempt from the tax (1,162,776). The tax therefore seems to be having the intended significant effect on businesses who use plastic packaging for their products: with many switching to more sustainable alternatives to virgin plastics.
The question is now being asked of the government: will the extra income be spent in ways that could benefit the plastics industry? Every company involved in packaging has had to make considerable investments to meet the requirements of implementing this tax. In our case, this has included the hiring and training of staff and the sourcing of large quantities of PCR plastic to fulfil additional demand.
At the very least, we surely have the right to respectfully request that some of the money raised be reinvested in recycling facilities and procedures to ensure that there is plenty of high quality PCR plastic suitable for use in manufacture.
Zoe Brimelow, a director at Duo was quoted in the plastics industry newsletter Interplas Insights:
“The UK needs serious investment in closed-loop recycling infrastructure to meet increased demand for recycled material, and the funds generated by the tax present an opportunity to build a world-beating recycling infrastructure that can provide high value, high quality recycled materials to reduce dependency on virgin materials.”
Bill Wickham Sales Director at Coda said:
"Companies in the plastics industry have invested heavily in staff training and procedure implementation to ensure full compliance with the Plastic Tax. We believe a proportion of the vast sums raised for the government should be spent in improving recycling facilities and shoring up the supply of PCR plastics."
Coda Plastics Ltd is happy to add our voice to the calls being made to ensure that money raised by a tax on our industry is sensibly reinvested.
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