AS the world prepares to mark Global Recycling Day, environmental compliance data specialist Ecoveritas is calling for clarity on the destination of funds raised from the UK Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT).
With the first anniversary of the PPT approaching, Ecoveritas said the UK Government is on target to take £250 million from the tax after it cost £20 million to administer, but the treasury says the funds will not be ring-fenced for recycling because it needs flexibility to manage public finances.
Ecoveritas has responded by highlighting the need to invest in closed-loop recycling infrastructure to meet demand for recycled material.
Josh Corradi-Remi, Ecoveritas’ commerical manager, said the funds generated by the PPT ‘present an opportunity to build a world-beating recycling infrastructure that can provide high-value, high-quality recycled materials to reduce dependency on virgin materials’.
He added, “PPT revenues of circa £230 million could help deliver this. At the very least, businesses that have invested in compliance to pay these taxes or invested heavily in new equipment and processes that contribute to a closed-loop recycling infrastructure should be informed about how hundreds of millions in new revenues will be used.
“If we’re taking waste management as seriously as the government’s rhetoric would have you believe, then funnelling money into waste management to increase the number of processing facilities, funding the development of new recycling technologies, and facilitating the UK’s move to ban plastic waste exports by 2027, should be a no-brainer. We should be scaling up to cater for the requirement to process all waste domestically and supporting efforts to reduce and reuse more plastics.”
Global Recycling Day is celebrated on March 18, when the Global Recycling Foundation calls on the public to think again about what we throw away. The foundation has helped to raise recycling awareness since it was established as an UN-recognised day in 2018.
Kathy Illingworth, head of sustainability consulting at Ecoveritas, said a piece of the puzzle that doesn’t receive enough attention is our obsession with convenience. She explained, “We need to stop overpraising convenience and pride ourselves in trying to avoid consuming things that produce waste intentionally. We urgently need a properly funded, transparent EPR system that supports real recycling in the UK and cracks down on illegal waste exports. Too much trash talk, not enough action!
“Most of us are lucky enough to be able to throw away our waste for it never to cross our minds again. We all need to connect with the waste we are creating and stop thinking that because it’s taken away from us, it isn’t our responsibility to reduce it.”