Plastic Packaging Tax

Understanding the UK Plastic Packaging Tax

It has been confirmed that a UK Plastic Tax will take effect from April 2022.

Why is a plastic tax being introduced?

It is estimated that two million tonnes of plastic packaging is used each year. The UK is in the top five processors of plastic in Europe. A study in 2017 found that plastic packaging made up 44% of the UK’s plastic use. An overwhelming majority of the plastic used for packaging is ‘virgin’ plastic rather than recycled. As such we are reaching crisis point with human impact on our environment it is more important than ever to make moves to a more circular economy. Recycled plastic has a carbon footprint up to four times lower than its virgin counterpart.

What affect will this have on my business?

From April 2022, plastic packaging which is produced in or imported into the UK will be subject to a plastic packaging tax of £200 a tonne if it does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

Whilst virgin plastic is estimated at £500 a tonne cheaper, this new tax is set to ‘balance the scales’ on cost efficiency and thus make more incentive for companies to endeavour to reduce their virgin plastic use. This move is intended to increase the rate of plastic recycling from households and businesses and thus reduce the impact on landfill and incineration processes.

What will this mean for the consumer?

It is estimated that this change will only impact households by 16p a week. There will be an encouragement and investment in developing the domestic recycling infrastructure as studies show many people are unsure what can be recycled and what cannot.

Are there any alternative products I can use?
Water Activated Tape

Water activated tape is a sustainable alternative to its polypropylene or vinyl counterparts. To find out more about the benefits of using WAT visit our blog page.

Paper mailing bags

Paper mailing bags offer an environmentally conscious way to develop ecommerce. Our Tenzalopes™ Green range use 100% virgin kraft paper from sustainable forests ensuring that your company can be eco-friendly without compromising on product quality. To find out more visit our Tenzalope™ blog page.


At Southgate we offer a wide range of Airwave, air pillow systems, to suit all your business needs. We also offer a range of air pillows including our acclaimed carbon neutral pillow, made with more than 53% recycled content and in support of the rainforest’s projects. Alongside this we supply the paper air pillow, made from recycled paper, and compostable pillow film.

Cardboard Void fill

Southgate also offers a range of shredders and our X-PAD and X-Fill machines. Whilst it may seem counterintuitive that machinery can equal sustainability it should be noted that void fill is largely made up of non recyclable goods. As such appliances such as shredders make use out of cardboard that would otherwise have been thrown away and saves your business money in turn. To find out more about this please visit our void fill blog.

Southgate have adopted the mantra ‘For Sustainability, Think Southgate’ over the last couple years, and as such we endeavour to support you in sourcing sustainable and reduced plastic alternatives.

To find out more about our sustainable products please speak to a member of our team today by calling 01553 692969 or by email using

You can also visit the Sustainability category within our blog for more information on our products.

packaging · fulfilment · productivity

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