Recycling industry responds to 2018 budget

Pic: Chatham House Link:,_Secretary_of_State_for_Foreign_and_Commonwealth_Affairs,_UK_(25141494120).jpg

Following the announcement of the 2018 Budget yesterday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the recycling and waste industry has responded. 

Within the budget, he revealed: 

  • A £10m fund to deal with abandoned waste sites 
  • A new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic, which will come into force on 1 April 2022 
  • That there will not be a levy on disposable plastic cups, but that may be reviewed if insufficient change results from industry initiatives 
  • That DEFRA will introduce changes to the Packaging Producer Responsibility Scheme outside of the Budget. 

The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “On the one hand I’m disappointed the 2018 budget speech didn’t really major on recycling. If ever there was a year for more environmental inclusions, it was this one. But on the other hand, we’re happy with the introduction of a tax that requires manufacturers to incorporate 30% recycled content into new plastic packaging.  

“The language used in the supporting documentation is also positive. There is a recognition that the decisions made by manufacturers, retailers and others within the supply chain are crucially important to the recyclability of material collected – and an understanding that the recycling sector cannot achieve the impossible. 

“This measured approach and supporting funding gives us the platform to find and deliver new solutions. I would welcome seeing the money earmarked to boost recycling used to bring uniformity into local authority collections, making it easier for everyone to achieve better results. 

“However, the Budget did not mention measures to incentivise development of more UK recycling capacity or details of increased funding from Extended Producer Responsibility for recycling. We hope the Resources and Waste Strategy, when published soon, will fill in these gaps.” 

Vanden Recycling managing director David Wilson said: “The introduction of a tax on plastic containing less than 30% recycled content makes sense. It’s the financial incentive needed to bring those that have dragged their heels into line. 

“It sends a positive message to businesses like ours that are looking to invest in UK plastic recycling capacity. It puts high quality recycled plastic right up there as an essential manufacturing feedstock. The timescale feels a little distant, but with all of the innovation going on in this sector it’s probably needed.” 

For CIWM, it said that it has been pushing for measures to generate a secondary material market to support plastic recycling. From this, the organisation said that the new tax proposal is welcome, although there is still more to be done.  

CIWM head of policy and communications Pat Jennings said: “Recyclability needs to be built in at the design stage and this will require a stronger and expanded Extended Producer Responsibility framework. We look forward to further proposals in the forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy to deliver the Government’s ambition of zero avoidable plastic waste by 2042.” 

The Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said that he is delighted to see that the Chancellor has listened to the arguments in favour of more action to drive the use of recycled materials in plastic packaging and welcomes the proposed tax on production and imports.  

He said that the tax has the effect of being a virgin plastics tax if implemented properly and is “potentially a good solution for the challenges of finding markets for recycled plastics, but not necessarily appropriate for other materials.” 

The chief executive said that action across the entire supply chain is needed to “address the issues of poor quality recyclates from collection and sorting programmes, the lack of transparency on end destination of recycling which damages public confidence in the recycling process, and an integrated approach to recycling market development that addresses other barriers to the take up of recycled material in manufacturing.” 


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