United Kingdom introduces plastic packaging tax

Amsterdam, 5thMarch 2019– The Plastic Pact recently presented by the Dutch Government aspires to close the ring of recycling, through recycling more and recycling better. Industries have promised to achieve a minimum of 35% use of recyclates for the manufacture of all plastic packaging. Recyclate is recovered from and manufactured from waste plastic.

But there’s a problem. New (virgin) plastic is substantially cheaper and of a much better quality than recyclate. Add to that the expense of collecting, sorting and processing waste plastic. The industry frankly misses the financial incentive to use recyclates in packaging, which defeats the actual purpose.

The UK thinks to solve this problem by taxing the production as well as the import of (empty) packaging. The UK Government has decided that from April 2022, a tax will be levied on plastic packaging that contains less that a certain minimal percentage of recyclate. A bottom line of 30% is proposed but this percentage could be higher or lower depending on the result of the currently running consultation on the whole.

A tax on new plastic is an effective measure that will ensure that new packaging material will become more expensive. This will cause a dip in the demand for plastic and will also mean a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions. It will also immediately become more financially attractive to collect and recycle waste plastic because packaging made from that will remain untaxed.

It remains a mystery as to why the Dutch Government does not implement this tax. The Plastic Pact does not even mention such a possibility.

Photo: foodrevolution.org

Read also – The advance towards EU taxing on Virgin Plastic.