The UK government has published Plastic packaging tax: summary of responses to the consultation. In March 2018 it had launched a call for evidence on using the tax system to tackle single-use plastic waste. In Budget 2018 it confirmed the intention to introduce new tax on businesses that produce or import plastic packaging which uses insufficient recycled content, taking effect from April 2022. That move has come a step closer with the publication of the results of the consultation on the initial proposed design of the tax.

Plastic packaging is typically only used for a short period and then disposed of, and accounts for 44% of plastic used in the UK but 67% of plastic waste. More than 2 million tonnes of plastic packaging is used in the UK each year.

HM Treasury’s consultation seeking views on the initial proposed design for the tax closed in May. The proposed tax will complement reformed Packaging Producer Responsibility regulations, which were considered in a consultation that ran in parallel.

The summary shows that the majority of respondents support the government’s approach of setting a flat rate per tonne of a plastic packaging product with majority support also for charging the tax at the point of production although there were also suggestions for other points in the supply chain. There was strong support in favour of including filled imports in the scope of the tax but mixed views on the proposal to exclude small operators.