UK Makes Retailers Pay Full Cost of Collection and Recycling Packaging

The UK’s government has recently put into place a mandate that makes retailers and producers of packing responsible for the cost of collecting and recycling material.

According to an article from The Guardian, the move is making the polluter pay for its waste, which could amount to costs between $634 million and $1.3 billion annually. The initiative moves the cost of recycling packing from the taxpayer and local authorites to the producer.

The article states that the new mandate aims to:

  • Introduce a tax on single use plastic with less than 30% recycled content.
  • Consider banning plastic packaging where there are alternatives.
  • Legislate to allow government to specify a core set of materials to be collected by all local authorities and waste operators.
  • Commit to a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans.
  • Ensure all households get food waste collections.
  • Try to build a stronger UK recycling market.

In October, UK officials announced 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,” said Chancellor Philip Hammond.

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