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Britain announces new plastics tax

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The U.K. government is seeking to ramp up efforts to tackle the scourge of litter and waste from single-use plastics, proposing a new tax on plastic packaging, subject to consultation, reported Digital Journal (Canada).

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the new tax on plastic packaging that would impose a levy on all plastics, domestic and imported that did not contain at least 30 percent recycled content.

The Chancellor said this would “transform the economics of sustainable packaging” by increasing the demand for recycled materials. However, he stopped short of announcing the imposition of a "latte levy," that would have charged around 25p for each single-use coffee cup.

In January, MPs on the environmental audit committee called for a standard 25p to be charged on top of the price of all hot drinks purchased in single-use cups, referencing the massive amount of waste. The U.K. uses an estimated 2.5 billion disposable poly-coated coffee cups each year, creating 25,000 tons of waste each year.

The Chancellor, however, said imposing a "latte levy" would not deliver a "decisive shift" in changing consumer's behavior. And this is in keeping with MPs concerns over the negative impact the tax would have by forcing shoppers away from retailers.

The new tax is subject to consultation and would not go into effect until April 2022. Also unveiled was a £20m fund to tackle the plastics issue that includes £10m for research and development (R&D) and £10m to fund innovative ideas in reducing plastic litter.

Greenpeace’s U.K. executive director, John Sauven, said: “We’re currently in the middle of a plastics pollution crisis and yet the chancellor failed to take even small steps towards stemming the flow of single-use plastics by choosing not to introduce a tax on disposable coffee cups and ignoring calls for a tax on brand new plastic.”

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Politics, Business
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