Businesses briefed on new ‘plastic tax’

The Government will introduce a new ‘plastic tax’ later this year providing it passes the consultation period, according to a new report.

A deposit return scheme has been announced to increase recycling rates and slash the amount of waste polluting the seas for the 13 billion plastic drinks bottled used by UK consumers each year.

The burden will be on businesses to charge customers between 8p and 22p for single use drinks containers (plastic, glass or metal), which is redeemed on return of the empty drink container.

A similar scheme is already in place in countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany, often achieved through a network of ‘reverse vending machines’.

The Government said this sort of system has achieved a 97 per cent recycling rate in Germany.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the scheme could include cash rewards for returning drinks containers without an upfront deposit.

“We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,” he said.

“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.”

The British Retail Consortium, which represents 80 per cent of retail trade in the UK by turnover, said it wanted costs to be proportionate to the size of the retailer.