Was the Budget plastic fantastic?

5th November 2018 | Commercial Energy

Bin collections are one of the most visible and widely used of all council services. Given the huge public interest in tackling plastic waste, prompted by Sir David Attenborough’s TV programme “Blue Planet II” last year, many organisations in the public and private sectors are coming under pressure to raise their game on recycling and waste management. But at a time of huge pressure on local authority finances, how are councils to square this circle? You may have heard that Swindon Borough Council is planning to tell residents to stop recycling mixed plastics, so items such as yogurt pots and plastics trays will be put in with the usual black bin waste. Is there a different way? The Budget may offer a partial solution.

While nobody expected the chancellor Phillip Hammond to pull many rabbits out of his hat at last week’s Budget, he did announce an intriguing new tax on the manufacture or import of single-use plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content. This will help tackle the scourge of plastics that finds their way into our oceans and rivers.

Plastic fantastic

If this goes ahead following consultation, business will have until April 2022 to adapt their designs and processes before the introduction of the tax. Alongside planes reforms to the Producer Responsibility regime for packaging, this will encourage businesses to ensure that far more packaging is recyclable and uses more recycled content.

Plans will be set out later this year to reform this regime to make businesses who make and use packaging, including plastic, more responsible for the clean-up and recycling cost of that packaging. It will also encourage them to design and use plastic packaging that is easier to recycle, and discourage them from using plastics that are difficult to recycle, such as plastic used in food trays. This is important to local authorities and to their residents, who currently pay something like 90% of the costs of collecting and recycling household packaging waste.

More information available on the website below