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UK Plans to Tax Plastic Packaging

The UK plans to begin taxing the import and manufacture of all plastic packaging that is not recyclable; the tax was announced in the 2018 budget, though the government says it is still mulling exact details and timetable, according to the Financial Times. It would apply to both imported and locally manufactured packaging.

The tax will be applied to all plastic that contains less than 30% recycled material. This will drive demand for recycled materials and thereby “transform the economics of sustainable packaging,” says Chancellor Philip Hammond.

The move follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement in January that she hopes to eliminate “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042, writes Bloomberg. Some initiatives are already underway: the government’s proposal to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws and stirrers, for example, has entered the consult phase.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an organization that is actively fighting plastics waste with a new global commitment, says that only about 14% of the world’s plastic is recycled.

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