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UK to evaluate taxes on single-use plastics

United Kingdom – As confirmed in the latest UK Budget statement, the government is launching a call for evidence to establish how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items like bottles and other drinks containers could reduce waste.

UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond comments: ‘The UK led the world on climate change agreements and is a pioneer in protecting marine environments. And I want us now to become a world leader in tackling the scourge of plastic littering our planet and our oceans.’

However, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) believes a tax that ultimately increases costs for the consumer does not provide a viable solution to littering. ‘Instead,’ it says, ‘the UK needs a strategy to increase on-the-go recycling, a system enabling clear national communications and the enforcement of fines to make it universally understood that littering is unacceptable and irresponsible.’

Any government interventions must be ‘effective, evidence-based, maximise recycling and minimise the amount of this valuable and recyclable material being lost to the environment’, according to the federation. ‘At this point in time, the BPF does not feel that taxation is the best way of achieving this.’

The BPF calls for a comprehensive strategy for collecting and recycling all items that are consumed on-the-go and the harmonisation of kerbside collection schemes throughout the UK. ‘This reform could potentially happen through revisions to the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme,’ it adds.

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