Plastic Tax

In April 2022 the government has planned to impose a tax of £200 per tonne on all plastic products that do not contain at least 30% of recycled material.

The aim of the tax is to reduce the use of the new plastics and increase plastic recycling. Plastic packaging manufactured in the UK or imported into the UK after the 1 April 2022 will be liable for the tax. The tax will be subject to VAT.

Impact of the new Plastic Tax

The new tax will result in two purchasing options being available for customers:

1) Purchase bags or film made from Virgin Polythene and pay the new tax which is added to the bag cost.

2) Avoid the new Plastic Tax by purchasing bags or film that contain at least 30% recycled material.

At first glance the obvious choice may seem to be number 2, however we would like to ensure our customers are fully aware of what impact using recycled material can have on the bags or film they purchase. With this in mind please see the below information.

For Polythene packaging we use Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE).

Unlike Virgin LDPE which produces a high clarity film and is made to very tight tolerances of Grade and Additives, recycled material is a mixture of used packaging which was made for many different packaging applications.

Xtex is committed to sourcing the best recycled material available.

However, due to the increased demand for recycled material caused by the new tax, the quality of recycled material is very likely to deteriorate when compared to that currently available, as more mixed and variable plastic packaging will be included to try and meet demand.

You can see from the pictures of samples received from the suppliers of recycled material just how much it can vary in quality and this may vary from order to order from the same supplier, even within the same delivery.

Virgin Vs Recycled

Customers need to be aware that the 30% recycled material may vary in appearance, colour, physical performance and may have an unpleasant smell, which could affect its suitability for its intended use.

Recycled Granules vs Virgin Granules

Virgin Polymer surrounded by Various Recycled Polymer Samples

Extruded film showing Virgin moving to a good quality recycled material on the outer

Pros and Cons of Using Recycled Material

Pros:

  • Stimulate a greater demand for recycled material
  • Encourages residents and local councils to be more proactive when it comes to recycling their waste polythene
  • Raises awareness of the waste management issues surrounding polythene
  • Helps protect the environment whilst still gaining the benefits of protective packaging

Cons

  • Can vary in colour and clarity
  • Contains mixed grades
  • Can have in an unpleasant smell
  • Can contain other unsuitable plastics
  • Can include contamination causing significant waste
  • Price of recycled material is most likely to go up due to demand and short supply

Biodegradable/Compostable included in the tax

The Plastic Tax will also be applied to compostable, biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics. The reason for this is that this type of packaging is not deemed suitable for recycling. These types of plastics also do not completely disappear but breakdown into microplastics that harm both marine and land environments.

Xtex is here to help

Let us know your requirements when requesting a quote and we will be more than happy to help. We appreciate that depending on the application for the bags supplied, some customers may not be overly concerned over the clarity, quality and any possible smell but for others such matters are of a serious concern, ether way we can guide you through the process.