Plastic Packaging Tax May Be Reviewed To Support Recycling
Large Plastic Roll In The Factory For The Production Of Plastic

The UK government has announced that it has launched a consultation into proposed changes to the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT). Under the current rules, the tax applies a rate of £200/tonne of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic. The Treasury will now consider whether to include chemically recycled plastics in the target. 

Materials Recycling World reports on a statement from the Treasury, which explained that the consultation would focus on a ‘mass balance’ approach to work out the volume of chemically recycled plastic in a product. 

It explained it was “a way to calculate the recycled content in packaging made from chemically recycled plastic, so it can contribute to the 30% recycled content threshold above which no tax is due.”

“Unlike traditional mechanical recycling, chemical recycling can break down plastic waste to a molecular level to produce feedstock which can be used to produce new plastic.”

“This means it can offer a complementary route for plastic waste which cannot be mechanically recycled, reducing amounts going to incineration or landfill. It can also produce a higher quality of recycled plastic.”

Gareth Davies, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “The world-leading plastic packaging tax is helping to tackle the scourge of plastic waste by encouraging businesses to include more recycled plastic in packaging.”

“We want to improve the tax even further, and this consultation is designed to help us do that by encouraging investment in the developing advanced recycling sector.”

Minister for business and trade Nusrat Ghani added: “By working together with industry on how the plastic packaging tax can take a mass-balance approach to calculating the recycled content in chemically recycled plastic, this consultation once again shows our support for business, innovation and growth.”

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) responded positively to the government’s announcement, and called for the swift release of the review and recommendations. In a statement on their website, they said: 

“The BPF is pleased to see the government announce that it will be launching a consultation on allowing mass balance to be a method for calculating recycled content within the Plastic Packaging Tax. However, we are calling on the government to release this consultation imminently.”

“Mass balance methodology is the only chain of custody method that will enable the chemical recycling industry to grow, which will in turn maximise the amount of plastic the UK is able to recycle. The lack of clarity to date has prevented companies from investing in the UK and some have looked elsewhere to build facilities.”

To increase the UK’s recycling rate, reduce the country’s reliance on exporting waste and to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, it is vital that there is significant investment in recycling infrastructure. The BPF sees chemical recycling as a complementary technology to mechanical recycling and investment is needed in both sectors.”

During its first year of operation, the plastic packaging tax has already raised around £277m. 

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