In April 2022, the UK introduced a tax on plastic packaging. The tax, introduced to help reduce plastic waste pollution, is the first of its kind in the world to cover all types of plastic packaging. Under the new rules, any packaging made primarily of plastic by weight made in or imported into the UK for final sale to the consumer will have to include a minimum of 30% recycled plastic. If the recycled content is below this inclusion rate, a Tax of £200/tonne on the total weight of the package will be due.
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The introduction of this charge has and will continue to have wide ramifications not just for UK producers and buyers of plastic-wrapped products, but for many European and global market players who export material to the UK. There will, of course, be financial implications as a result of this new legislation, even for companies that include 30% recycled content in their packaging. Key recycled polymers – such as recycled polyethylene terephthalate, most commonly used to make beverage bottles – command a higher price than their fossil derivatives virgin polymer.