Government presses on with plastic tax as part of the Budget 2019

United Kingdom

As reported in an earlier article, in February 2019, HM Treasury published a consultation on introducing a tax on plastic packaging either manufactured in the UK or imported unfilled that contains less than 30% recycled materials.[1] HM Treasury’s response to the consultation, confirms that the proposal will be progressed and that it will create greater demand for recycled plastic, stimulating increased collection and recycling of plastic waste.[2]

HM Treasury states in its response that it is still considering the design of the tax and what measures would be most administratively feasible and proportionate in terms of their impact on businesses. Consideration is also being given to including imported filled plastic packaging. An outline of the next steps in relation to the tax will be published as part of Budget 2019. Following this, a technical consultation on the design of the tax will be published at an unspecified later date. Draft legislation giving effect to the new tax will be published in 2020 for consultation.

HM Treasury has also indicated that it will work closely with DEFRA to ensure consistency of the tax with the proposals for the revision of the existing Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste regime (“EPR”) and for a Deposit Return Scheme (“DRS”) for drinks containers, which the Government has consulted on separately. The responses to the separate EPR and DRS consultations will be analysed together with the response to the plastic tax consultation when devising the design for the new tax on plastic packaging.

Article co-authored by Kamen Stoilov.