How to calculate the weight of packaging for the tax on plastic packaging

For the packaging components you manufacture and import into the UK you need to know:

If the specification or the materials used in the manufacture of a packaging component change, you will need to re-evaluate.

For the purposes of the plastic packaging tax, you may need to demonstrate that a component of the packaging is not plastic.

Calculate the weight of a plastic packaging component

You need to determine this for each component you manufacture or import to find out if you need to register for the plastic packaging tax and to calculate the amount of tax owed.

When waste remains attached to the finished component, you can deduct the weight of the waste from the weight of the finished component. You must have evidence and keep records to demonstrate the weight of the waste.

If the specifications or the materials used to make a packaging component change, you must perform a reassessment.

To calculate the overall weight of a component, you can use:

If neither of these methods works for you, you can request to use another method. Your application must specify:

  • why you can’t use the usual methods
  • the method you want to use instead
  • the components for which your method will be used

Information on how to apply to use a different method will be released at a later date.

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The method of individual components

You can weigh each finished packaging component individually.

The sample component method

You can weigh a component sample for a range of products.

When using this method, you should verify that the weight of the sample component is the same as that of other components of the same type by weighing a random selection of components. You must keep records to demonstrate your sample weighing.

This sample weight can be used for all production runs of this product, as long as the specifications and materials used do not change.

The material inputs method

If a production run is used to make identical packaging components in a product line, you can divide the net weight of each item put into the cycle by the number of components you manufacture.

You can use it to find out if the component is plastic, what the recycled plastic content is, and add the weight of each material used to get the total weight of the component.

Net weight is the total weight of a material minus the weight of any waste generated during the manufacturing process.

The verified specification method

You can use the weights shown on the product specification.

You should weigh a random selection of components to ensure they meet product specifications.

You must keep records to demonstrate your sample weighing. When the component is made abroad, this can be done by the manufacturer.

If you use this method, you need to do your due diligence to make sure the specification is and remains accurate. This includes making sure that foreign manufacturers verify that the weight matches specifications.

The bulk weighing method

If a production run is used to make identical packaging components in a product line, you can divide the total weight of all components produced in that cycle by the number of components produced to determine the weight of a single component. .

Calculate the recycled plastic content of a plastic packaging component

Plastic packaging tax is not payable on plastic packaging components if 30% or more of the plastic used is recycled.

To calculate the percentage of recycled plastic, divide the net weight of recycled plastic used by the combined total net weight of all plastic used, then multiply the result by 100.

Find an example of calculating the recycled plastic content of plastic packaging components.

You can find out the weight of non-recycled plastic and recycled plastic in a finished component using either the material inputs method or the verified specifications method.

Demonstrate that a packaging component is not plastic

You will need to calculate the weight of each relevant material used to make the packaging component.

If the packaging component includes more plastic by weight than any other material (or group of materials) listed, it is treated as a plastic packaging component.

You can find out the weight of the materials used in a packaging component using either the material input method or the verified specification method.

Maria D. Ervin