In this lesson you will learn what plastic packaging taxes are.
Plastic packaging taxes are a policy instrument to prevent plastic waste.
The tax affects companies that produce plastic packaging in, or import plastic packaging to, the country that introduced the tax.
One hotspot for countries introducing plastic packaging taxes is Europe. The reason: The European Union introduced a European Plastic Packaging Levy in 2021, which makes the member states pay 0,80 € for each kilo of plastic packaging waste that is not recycled in that country. How the single member states finance this additional cost is left up to them. One way is to pass the costs further to the industry by introducing own plastic packaging taxes for importing plastics to the country, or for producing it. And with national plastic packaging taxes, the government are, of course not only passing on the costs, but also the incentive to use less single-use plastic packaging and to use recycled content for the indispensable ones. This also helps to fulfill certain goals and regulations as, for example, the Single Use Plastics Directive (EU 2019/904).
The plastic packaging tax legislation develops quickly, and the precise rules differ from country to country. So, here is some examples for questions that might be answered differently in every country:
- What packaging types and levels are in scope?
- What is the taxable event? (imports, production, distribution, market entry, etc.)
- What are the reporting obligations?
- What forms need to be filled and in what frequency?
- What are the obligations to provide evidence?
- What are the rules for recycled plastic content in packaging?
- Are there exemptions on certain kinds of packaging, e.g. used for human medicine, on tertiary packaging, packaging as an integral part of a product etc.