Packaging Advice

3 ways to avoid or reduce the plastic tax

6 mins

The Plastic Tax is now in place as of April 1st. This new tax sees that plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content is subject to £200 per tonne penalty. This applies to importers or manufacturers of more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging, and bio-based, biodegradable, compostable, and oxo-degradable plastics are also in scope of the tax.

According to GOV.UK, plastic packaging is responsible for 67% of the UK’s plastic waste, with over 2 million tonnes of plastic used every year. This is why the Plastic Tax was introduced, in order to increase the demand for recycled plastic by reducing the amount of new plastic produced, sold, and wasted. After all, it’s no secret that plastic has a detrimental impact on the environment as the chemical structures of plastic make them almost impossible to degrade, resulting in polluting our oceans and land.

In this article, we will explore the 3 ways your business can avoid the new plastic packaging tax.

1. Reduce your current packaging materials

The first step your business should take is reviewing all the materials you currently are using to see if there are any ways to cut your plastic packaging. It’s important to identify opportunities for improvement through analysing your current operations and finding out what action needs to be taken in order to avoid the plastic tax penalty.

This includes reviewing all of the plastic packaging your business uses – bubble wrap, plastic-based voidfill, stretch wrap, strapping, and tape, as well as plastic bags, are some of the most common materials that will need evaluating.

You may find that your business could benefit from a free packaging audit to gain a deeper understanding of your packaging operations and the challenges you face. It will also show whether you can reduce the packaging materials your business uses and lower your carbon footprint. Our free packaging audits at Swiftpak can result in up to 57% cost savings, up to 40% productivity and up to 74% less waste, so this could be a way to help reduce plastic use.

packaging audit

2. Switch to recycled content packaging alternatives

Recycled content packaging has been manufactured using non-virgin materials that have been used before. This can be waste materials, by-products from the initial manufacturing process, or post-consumer waste.

The good news is recycled content packaging products will still protect your products but with the added benefit of being much more environmentally friendly as it prevents waste from going to landfill. Other benefits include:

  • Sustainable benefits: recycling materials means that fewer raw materials are needed so this increases sustainability in the supply chain and means there is less strain on natural resources such as fossil fuels and tree stocks impacted by deforestation.
  • Carbon Emissions are reduced: Materials that end up in landfill produce harmful greenhouse gases which contributes to global warming, but by recycling materials we can reduce these pollutants from releasing into the environment.
  • Less waste on landfills: By recycling waste into new products, we can reduce the number of materials that head to landfills. This means that we will also reduce land pollution and marine littering that often occurs due to waste that was initially on land.

Recycled content packaging products from Swiftpak

At Swiftpak, we have added new 30% recycled content packaging products to our range to help you avoid the Plastic Packaging Tax. These include:

  • Premium Polypouch Bags: Plastic tends to be a huge component in mailers, especially those that are bubble lined. However, our Premium Polypouch Bags are created using a very high tear-resistant material for exceptionally tough polythene mailer that will give you peace of mind against the plastic tax.
  • Strapping solutions: We stock a wide range of high-quality, durable strapping so you can secure your pallets and products with confidence. Some even have over 30% recycled content! Contact one of our packaging experts today to find out more.
  • 30% Recycled Stretch Wrap: Our MWrap stretch wrap now features 30% recycled content so it is in-line with the plastic tax! MWrap uses the latest technology in film production providing a reinforced, stronger film that is thinner than conventional micron-measured films. It is made from 30% post-production waste and will result in 75% less waste!
  • Premium Bubble Wrap: That’s right, our Premium Bubble Wrap has 30% recycled content and is recyclable. It’s manufactured using air retention technology to allow the product to provide long term cushioning properties.
  • Recycled Foam Profiles: Our Ocean Green Foam Profiles offer the same exceptional quality as our standard profiles, but with even greater levels of sustainability – they are 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled content!

3. Change to paper-based packaging materials

If 30% recycled content packaging isn’t for you, businesses can instead opt for fully recyclable paper-based packaging. Paper packaging has higher biodegradation rates compared to plastic packaging, so that it breaks down in natural environments quickly when exposed to bacteria, yeast, and other organisms.

Paper is also of course one of the most recyclable materials in the world. It is just 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the pulp, paper, and print value chain being one of the lowest industrial emitters. On top of this, it has the benefit of being reusable as paper can be re-pulped without the use of chemicals and can be reused up to 5-7 times to make new products. To find out more paper-based packaging benefits, check out our article where we explore all the benefits.  

At Swiftpak, we have a wide-range of plastic-free packaging alternatives for those wanting to avoid plastic entirely. Some examples include:

  • Honeycomb Paper Wrap: An eco-friendly alternative to bubble wrap with no compromise on performance. It is made from 100% recyclable die-cut kraft paper, is extremely lightweight and flexible, and is quick and easy to use.
  • Corrugated and Board Envelopes: The range includes standard and heavy-duty corrugated envelopes, as well as white and brown board mailing envelopes, all of which provide the ultimate postal protection.
  • Paper Tape: We stock a recyclable range of packaging tapes for multiple uses, providing a strong paper tape solution that is more eco-friendly and usually hassle-free. However, in the current climate with paper prices rising, pricing for paper could be significantly higher than plastic in certain cases. In some cases, it might be cheaper to pay the plastic tax then switch to paper.

Avoiding the Plastic Tax with help from Swiftpak

At Swiftpak, we are always here to help when you need it, particularly if you need to find packaging solutions to be in-line with the Plastic Packaging Tax. We have held multiple webinars with Comply Direct to provide all the latest information and to help answer any questions. If you missed our latest webinar, you watch the replay via our website.  

Alternatively, feel free to contact us today and we will be happy to help you through the Plastic Packaging Tax, providing advice and alternatives your business can be using.