Plastic Packaging Tax guidance

Tax must be paid on any non-recycled plastic packaging manufactured in the UK or imported into the UK. Our guidance is for seafood businesses only.

An overview of the Plastic Packaging Tax

The Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT), effective from 1 April 2022, is targeted at non-recycled plastic packaging components manufactured within, or imported into, the UK. This includes Northern Ireland. The tax affects imported packaging components that have been filled or packed. For example, imports of plastic containers filled with squid.

Liability for this tax needs to be assessed and accounted for on a per component basis. For example, a ready meal container may consist of a plastic pot, layer of film and label. These would be assessed as three separate components.

The regulation incentivises businesses to increase use of recycled plastic components and reduce dependence on virgin materials. The goal is to support sustainability and moves towards a more circular economy and greater supply chain resilience.

Our guidance for seafood businesses

The impact of the tax on businesses is discussed in detail within this guidance. Our guidance covers:

Impact on businesses

All businesses that will manufacture or import into the UK 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging in the next 30 days must register for and report the Plastic Packaging Tax.

All businesses that have manufactured or imported 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging in the last 12 months must register for and report the tax. Tonnage manufactured or imported before 1 April 2022 is not relevant.

It has been introduced within a context of pre-existing regulations, relating to packaging waste and producer responsibilities. Further information regarding these is available in the Environment Agency’s online guidance on producer responsibilities.

The tax is charged on plastic containing less than 30% recycled content. Plastic containing 30% or more recycled content still counts towards whether a business has reached the registration threshold, but the business will not pay any tax on this plastic.

Man using a knife to slice open a plastic package containing cut squid tubes

The tax is charged at a rate of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging upon which the levy is due. More information is given later in this guidance about whether a liable business must pay the tax on all its tonnage that’s in scope.

If a plastic packaging component has some but less than 30% recycled content, the tax applies to the entire component.

HMRC estimates that the tax will impact around 20,000 manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging. Because of difficulties in identifying alternatives to non-recycled plastic, many seafood businesses will continue to use a high volume of taxable plastic packaging. HMRC suggests in its policy proposal that the effect on businesses is likely to be significant.

In deciding whether it must register for the tax, a business should consider:

  1. Does/will it meet the 10-tonne threshold?
  2. Is what they manufacture or import ‘packaging’?
  3. Is what they manufacture or import ‘plastic’?

Although businesses that purchase plastic packaging from UK suppliers are not liable for the tax, they must show due diligence in checking that it has been accounted for.

Regulator for the Plastic Packaging Tax

As this is a tax, HMRC are responsible for the Plastic Packaging Tax.

You should contact HMRC for any specific queries about any tax your business may be due to pay.

Resources to support your business

We are currently collating a range of resources to support businesses with Plastic Packaging Tax guidance. Access our resources below. 

Plastic Packaging Tax webinar

This webinar provides guidance for seafood businesses on the Plastic Packaging Tax which came in to force on 1 April 2022.

The Plastic Packaging Tax – Frequently asked Q&As

Following on from our recent webinar, we have produced a useful Frequently asked Q&As document to help answer common questions received from businesses in more detail. To access the document please use the link below. 

The Plastic Packaging Tax – Frequently asked Q&As

Case studies

We will share case studies of how seafood businesses are complying with the Plastic Packaging Tax as we start to gather these in.

HMRC guidance

Guidance is available from HMRC should businesses require it. Please follow the link below to the GOV.UK website. 

Further information

For further information and guidance, please contact:

Jack Simpson
Regulatory Affairs Advisor
07940 545 567