Extra 700,000 tons of plastic could be thrown away while government delays new tax, Labour claims

7th November 2018 | Recycling

An additional 700,000 tons of plastic will be thrown away while the government delays its proposed tax on plastic packaging, according to Labour analysis. The next four years will also see British people throw away at least 100,000 tons of coffee cups, a figure that critics argue could be slashed with the introduction of a 25p charge on beverages.

Chancellor Philip Hammond came under fire for failing to introduce the highly anticipated “latte levy” in the autumn Budget. While he did announce a new tax on the manufacture an import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic, it is not set to come into force until 2022. The shadow environment secretary has been joined by campaigners in criticising the government for “dithering” on measures to curb plastic pollution as it floods into marine and land ecosystems, and finds its way into human bodies.

Tons of plastic

Though the new tax is intended to reduce dependence on plastics that are very difficult or impossible to recycle such as black food trays, campaigners say measures must be far tougher and have called for total bans on certain plastics. Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said, “It’s scandalous that over 700,000 tons of additional plastic waste will devastate our environment while the Tories dither and delay over even the most basic of measures.

“Yet again the government is showing disregard for the environment at a time when the urgency and seriousness of the situation has never been clearer.” Environmental groups have pointed to the government’s successful implementation of a charge on plastic bags, which has slashed use by 85 per cent, and urged them to imitate it for other problem areas.

“The plastic bag charge showed us that tough action on plastics works, and the public supports it. The same logic should apply to non-recyclable disposable coffee cups,” said Paul Morozzo, plastics campaigner at Greenpeace.

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