Plastic waste tax set for 2022 launch

The Treasury plans to go ahead with plans for a single-use plastic waste tax, covering all plastics and chargeable by weight, although it will not become law for three years.

Despite the growing problem with single-use plastic waste, the tax charge will not be introduced for three years.

First announced in March 2018, the government has indicated that it will go ahead with legislation to bring in the tax charge from April 2022.

Detailed proposals will be released at Budget 2019 this autumn and HMRC will publish a technical consultation on the detail of the tax design at a later date. Draft legislation will be published for consultation in 2020.

Over two million tonnes of plastic packaging are used in the UK each year and the majority of this is made from new, rather than recycled plastic.

Plastic packaging is typically only used for a short period and then disposed of, and accounts for 44% of plastic used in the UK, but 67% of plastic waste.

The government plans to charge the tax at a flat rate per tonne of a product following a consultation process.

The majority of respondents rejected the government’s proposal to exclude filled packaging imports, and just under half of respondents disagreed with a single 30% recycled content threshold, highlighting the level of support for a plastic tax.

The Treasury will also to work closely with Defra to ensure that the plastic packaging tax complements the reforms to the Packaging Producer Responsibility regulations and proposals for consistent collection of waste in England and a potential Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.

The consultation received a record 162,000 responses, highlighting the strong public interest in action in this area.

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