How The Plastic Packaging Tax, Recycled Plastic Food Containers and Food Safety are linked

….and the confusion they are causing

Food-Safe Plastic Packaging and Recycling. Can food-safe plastic packaging and recycling co-exist?

We received the email below, and are being asked the same type of question a lot. Not just from consumers, but suppliers and distributors.

Therefore we have posted the email reply that was sent, so hopefully it can help with the confusion of PPT and how it links to recycling and food safety.


I am looking for recyclable plastic tubs with lids for the food industry. The ones we currently use will incur plastic tax charges and we really want to avoid that and move to a more green solution. If you could let me know that would be great.

Thank you for your email.

Food-Safe Plastic Packaging and Recycling

PET (polyethylene terephthalate)

To have a pot that is made from recycled material for food use you will need a pot made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. You could also look at a plastic alternative such as cellulose. These are readily available from a variety of distributors but is not something we currently offer.

The only food safe plastic pots available, made from recycled materials are manufactured out of PET. If you think of clear yogurt pots or drinks bottles, this is PET. It is slightly flexible and readily recyclable.

PET was made for and has always been in the food chain. It is therefor safe to recycle it to keep it in the food chain. The downside to PET, and the reason we don’t offer it, is because it is not heat resistant. You can’t hot fill a PET pot. It is no good for a lot of our customers, such as soup or curry sauce producers.

PP (polypropylene)

The plastic pots we sell are produced from PP (polypropylene). This is 100% recyclable. As long as it is disposed of correctly, it will be recycled into another plastic product. However, it will not be remade for food use as currently no recycled PP is food safe.

Due to its high strength and heat resistance, PP is used as containers for many products, from food to paint to resin. As there is no way to remove potentially hazardous contaminants, recycled PP is for non-food use only. It is also only available in darker colours such as dark green, grey or black because dye is added to make it a uniform colour.


If a company imports more that 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year, all the plastic packaging they import is subject to the plastic packaging tax, but only if it contains less than 30% recycled materials. PPT is only payable by the importer/manufacturer of the goods in their finished state.

If you were to purchase a plastic pot from us or another importer/manufacturer, it is us/they who pay the PPT to the government.

We at Victoria Packaging mark our invoices as PPT paid so you can keep it for your records. You do not have to pay the tax. You might notice that the price will rise slightly due to the importer passing the PPT on, but as prices are rising at the moment, this will probably be a very small portion of any percentage increase. We haven’t added any price rises due to PPT, as the numerous increases from energy and oil costs etc. are hard for most customers, without the additional PPT.

I’m not sure if the above helps with your question or raises more? Sorry if I have gone off on a tangent, but I have many people who have been misinformed asking about the PPT tax, worried that they will have charges when they wont.

If you need any other advice or any other queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.