Recyclable air pillows

UK’s new plastic packaging tax – what to know

April 2022 plastic packaging tax


The UK government is set to introduce a new tax on plastic packaging from April 2022. From then on, any plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK needs to contain at least 30% recycled plastic. If it doesn’t, a £200 per tonne plastic tax will be levied.

What’s the idea behind the policy?

The goal of the policy is to motivate businesses to use more recycled materials in their plastic packaging. According to the policy paper, the carbon footprint of recycled plastic can be up to four times lower than that of virgin plastic.

As demand increases for recycled materials, levels of plastic collection and recycling are expected to rise. That way, plastic can be diverted away from landfill and incineration.

The carbon footprint of recycled plastic can be up to four times lower than that of virgin plastic.

How will my business be impacted by the plastic tax?

The new tax directly impacts the producers and suppliers of plastic packaging. However, end users are likely to feel the effects of the policy too.

If you currently pack your products with plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content, the new tax is set to increase your costs. That’s because producers and suppliers will inevitably have to pass the tax onto end user businesses. Luckily, there’s still time to make changes in your product packaging strategy to avoid the effects of this new tax.

What can I do to reduce costs under the new tax?

Virgin plastic is costly for the environment. Chances are, it’s costing your business as well. In most cases, virgin plastic is far from being the only option available. Furthermore, recycled alternatives can offer better all-around value.

If you are currently using virgin plastic in your protective packaging, it might be worth exploring recycled alternatives before costs rise in April 2022. As well as the cost savings, sustainable materials can benefit your business in various ways. For example, by enhancing the customer experience or improving your environmental performance. As research by IBM shows, 57% of consumers in 2020 factor environmental impact into their purchasing decisions. Hence, a switch to recycled packing materials could elevate your brand in the eyes of your customers.

Research shows 57% of consumers factor environmental impact into their purchasing decisions.

How Greenlight can help

Fragile products of all shapes and sizes require protective packaging to keep them safe in transit. To eliminate breakages in a more sustainable way, Greenlight’s high performance recycled plastic air cushion film is available in various sizes for different applications.

The air pillows contain at least 50% recycled content, which is well over the minimum required by the new legislation to avoid the plastic tax. In addition, the innovative design of the cushions helps reduce the total amount of packaging  used. As a result, Greenlight’s films have allowed companies to reduce their consumption of virgin plastics by up to 65%. Along with the boost to environmental performance, Greenlight helps you pack more, using less.

Greenlight Re/C air cushion film contains at least 50% recycled content