Chancellor calls for views on plastic tax

While yesterday’s Spring Statement revealed little, it did call for views on how plastic taxes could help the environment.

The call to evidence – essentially gathering the views of those concerned – will explore how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics.

These include items such as takeaway boxes, plastic wrap, cigarette filters and disposable cups, which could be reduced to stop unnecessary damage towards the environment.

The Government said it will look broadly across the whole supply chain, from production and retail to consumption and disposal, in order to gain the best possible understanding of the whole landscape before deciding on the best course of action.

According to a BBC report, the taxes could be imposed in three ways. Either a tax on all single-use plastics, which the EU is currently considering, a charge on single-use plastics, similar to that of the 5p carrier bag levy, or the Government could introduce a deposit/return system.

The 5p plastic bag charge has so far been an astounding success, reducing annual consumption by 80 per cent.

Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environment analyst, said: “Plastic is made from oil and gas, which are cheap at the moment. That removes the incentive for firms to recycle plastics because it’s cheaper to make new plastic with raw material.

“Putting charges on single-use plastics that pollute the oceans could change that equation.”

The British Plastics Federation, the trade body representing around 400 members, said the Government should be careful outlawing all plastics, as there are “many positive uses for plastic in society, from hospitals to food security”.