Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Recycle, recycle recycle: further pressures on businesses to use recycled materials

Regulatory / 24 August 2021

Following Joe Lycett’s clever environmental campaign targeted at white PET plastic (for those who missed the ‘walk out’ of Steph’s Packed lunch stunt you can watch it here), the focus is now on packaging companies to provide plastic packaging that is easily recyclable.  White PET plastic is much harder to recycle than clear PET plastic.  Yop’s owners General Mills, the fall guys in this stunt, have announced that they will be changing their bottle to clear packaging in 2022.  These new bottles will be made from recycled plastic.

The stunt acts as a good reminder for UK producers of plastic packaging; importers of plastic packaging; businesses that use plastic packaging; and consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging of the Plastic Packaging Tax, introduced by the Finance Act 2021, which will take effect in April 2022.  The aim of the tax is to provide an economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in any plastic packaging, whilst increasing recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfills or incineration.

The tax will be charged at £200 per tonne for any packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic.  It is expected to impact the UK’s 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging as well as all businesses.  You will find details of the draft legislation here.

The tax will apply to single-use products such as bin bags, but it will not apply to things such as glasses cases, printer cartridges, inhalers and display stands because three categories of products are removed from the meaning of a “packaging component” in the regulations.  If you have any queries about whether your packaging or plastic products will need to include 30% recycled plastic or how to implement a plastics audit to improve your environment social and governance credentials, then do get in touch.

There will be civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply with the tax, including penalties for failure to register, failure to file returns and failure to pay the tax.

We look forward to seeing Joe’s next consumer campaign.


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