The UK Government plans to introduce a new tax on the import and manufacture of all plastic packaging that is not recyclable.
In the Budget 2018 speech, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said a new tax will be introduced on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging which features less than 30% recycled plastic.
The government said it will consult on the detail and implementation timetable. 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging are used in the UK each year.
Hammond said billions of disposable plastic drinks cups, cartons, bags and other items are used every year in the UK which is convenient for consumers but deadly for wildlife and oceans.
Hammond claims the new tax will transform the economics of sustainable packaging.
He said that the government also sought to introduce a levy on the production of disposable plastic cups not just for coffee, but for all types of beverage.
“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,” Hammond said.
The government is of view that in addition to already proposed reforms to the packaging producer responsibility system, the new tax on produced or imported plastic packaging will encourage businesses to make sure that far more packaging can be recycled and to use more recycled plastic in their packaging.
The government said it will consult on both reforms shortly.
According to the government, additional revenues from the packaging tax and packaging producer responsibility reforms will allow investment to address single-use plastics, waste and litter.
The budget also included £20m to tackle plastics and boost recycling: £10m more for plastics R&D and £10m to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter, such as smartbins.
Earlier this month, the UK Government has unveiled plans to ban the supply and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds as part of its efforts to safeguard rivers and seas.