With less than a year to go until the Plastic Packaging Tax is introduced in the UK, a study by Veolia reports that 83% of businesses asked were not aware of the tax.

Sitting alongside the UK Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, the UK Treasury first announced the tax on plastics in 2018, and is set to introduce it in April 2022.

The tax places a £200 per tonne levy on producers or importers of plastic packaging if they do not include 30% recycled content.

Veolia’s research also reports that the two biggest drivers for acting more sustainably in business are government mandates (30%) and environmental conscience (48%).

Commenting on the findings, Tim Duret, director of sustainable technology at Veolia UK and Ireland, says: “The Plastics Packaging Tax is removing the economic burden of acting more sustainably and levelling the playing field for businesses. In order to continue this momentum, we need to escalate the tax and roll it out across all types of plastics like construction, cars, furniture, and electric goods.

“It is essential that we continue pairing our actions with the backing of policy. 84% of businesses we spoke to agreed and support the incremental increase to the Plastic Packaging Tax. This will boost the circular economy, encourage more domestic infrastructure, create jobs, and ultimately reduce the UK’s climate impact.”

Helen Bird, strategic technical manager for plastics at WRAP, adds: “The end market for recycled plastic is central to circularity and it’s positive to see that ahead of implementation, the Plastics Tax has positively impacted on demand.

“However, challenges remain. For some packaging, it is practical to reach higher levels of recycled content, while for others, the rollout of technological developments will be required to include any.

“While we continue to export more than half of the UK’s plastic packaging waste, many businesses are struggling to secure enough recycled material to meet targets such as The UK Plastics Pact, and tax obligations. We must continue to work together to drive investment to overcome these challenges and act more sustainably.”