BPF calls for plastic packaging tax funds to be invested ‘appropriately’


THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has reacted to the UK Budget announcement regarding plans to introduce a new plastic packaging tax, stating that it hopes the money generated will be invested ‘appropriately and where it is needed’.

“As an industry, we want to play our part in leaving the environment in a better state for future generations and taxing plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content will increase the use of recycled material,” the BPF said. “We are pleased that this tax includes dealers of pre-filled packaging too, as otherwise it risked disadvantaging UK businesses, driving jobs overseas and increasing carbon emissions by favouring heavier imported products.

“Questions remain, however, regarding whether the tax will apply to packaging that cannot incorporate recycled content due to existing legislation. We look forward to working with the government during the upcoming consultation to address these matters.

“The British Plastics Federation (BPF) hopes that the money raised by this tax is invested appropriately and where it is badly needed: in upgrading the UK’s recycling infrastructure. In the interim, our recycling infrastructure could be improved via reforms to the existing PRN system, which the industry has been requesting for many years.

“We also welcome the two-year extension of the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) scheme. As an organisation that manages the CCA for the plastics industry, we know this scheme is valued and has helped to significantly reduce energy use.”

The Recycling Association described the tax as a ‘game-changer’. Chief executive Simon Ellin said “The introduction of a Plastic Packaging Tax from April 2020 of £200 per tonne is a game changer. It is an amount that will stimulate the use of the 30% recycled content in plastic packaging the Government wants to achieve and lead to the development of more plastic recycling infrastructure in the UK.

“However, the devil will be in the detail, particularly around the scope of what is included in the tax. While I welcome the plastic packaging tax, I wonder if there should be a similar tax introduced on other packaging materials such as paper and cardboard if it does not include 30% recycled content. This would help to stimulate markets for other materials too.

“I am also pleased to see in the consultation document on the plastic packaging tax that the Government remains keen to reform the producer responsibility system to ensure that multi-material packaging is discouraged and incentivise instead those packaging materials that are easy to recycle.”