UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond has revealed plans to introduce a new tax on packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic in a move to reduce waste and help tackle climate change.

Hammond noted that the government will consult on the details of implementation, and will introduce the reform in April 2022, reported Reuters.

Addressing the Deputy Speaker in his budget speech, Hammond said: “Billions of disposable plastic drinks cups, cartons, bags and other items are used every year in Britain.

“Where we cannot achieve re-use, we are determined to increase recycling so we will introduce a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging, which contains less than 30% recycled plastic, transforming the economics of sustainable packaging.”

“I have also looked carefully at the case for introducing a levy on the production of disposable plastic cups, not just for coffee, but for all types of beverages.”

Hammond also said that a tax would not prove effective in delivering significant results in encouraging customers or firms to shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.

“I will monitor carefully the effectiveness of the action the takeaway drinks industry is already taking to reduce single-use plastics.”

He added: “I will monitor carefully the effectiveness of the action the takeaway drinks industry is already taking to reduce single-use plastics and I will return to this issue if sufficient progress is not made.”

According to Hammond, the Environment Secretary will oversee this issue through the reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility scheme.

Commenting on the plastic tax, paper manufacturer James Cropper CEO Phil Wild said: “We have shown that there are credible plastic-free packaging alternatives through our COLOURFORM innovation, which is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. It was inspired by the principles of a circular economy – one where packaging leaves no trace.

“Partnerships between brands, recycling facilities, waste management companies and government are key to building on the great work that is already being done in establishing best practice for ‘on-the-go’ recycling.”

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