Plastic packaging tax announced

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Government will now consult on the detail and implementation timetable fo the tax

A new tax on the manufacturing and import of plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastics will be introduced, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said.

Speaking in the House of Commons during the Autumn Budget, Hammond said the measures will “transform the economics of sustainable packaging.”

The government will now consult on the detail and implementation timetable of the tax.

There will be no plans to introduce a levy on disposable plastic cups, as recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee earlier this year.

Hammond said: "I have concluded that a tax in isolation would not, at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.

“I will monitor carefully the effectiveness of the actions the takeaway drinks industry is already taking to reduce single use plastics and return to this if significant progress isn’t made.”

Instead, Hammond said the issue would be addressed as part of the reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility scheme.

He added: “[The scheme] is an ambitious package which reflects our determination to lead the word in the crusade to rid the oceans and the environment of plastic waste.”

Industry leaders hope the tax will prevent packaging that is unnecessarily wasteful.

Dominic Hogg, chairman and founder of Eunomia, said: “The existing system of so-called producer responsibility is failing badly.

“If we had a system where producers were charged the full costs of managing packaging, we would influence the design of packaging, and could specify high quality recycling infrastructure. "

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, added: "Today’s announcement from Treasury sends a clear message that the Government is serious about delivering a circular economy for Britain.

"We are pleased to see that the Chancellor is not taking a piecemeal, straw-by-straw approach, but will consult on a more holistic tax, which seeks to drive a circular economy in recycled materials."

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