Proposed UK plastic packaging tax a ‘blunderbuss’ approach - INEOS director

Source: ICIS News

2019/03/07

LONDON (ICIS)--Proposed measures in the UK to introduce a tax on plastics packaging containing less than 30% of recycled product by 2022 is a “blunderbuss” regulation to fit political agendas that fails to recognise the complexity of the system, an executive at European chemicals major INEOS said on Thursday.

The measures fail to engage with the complexity and requirements of the plastics packaging sector, with the 30% target an arbitrary standard, according to INEOS director director Tom Crotty.

Different materials may have different requirements, and the regulation would be feasible for some forms of plastic packaging but not for others, with targets of 100% appropriate for some forms and below the 30% mark for others, he added.

“The UK tax proposal bit of a blunderbuss proposal to tick a political box, the 30% applications idea doesn’t really work,” said Crotty, speaking at the IndentiPlast conference in London, UK.

The UK government has launched consultations on four proposals related to reducing plastic waste, increasing recycling and driving the use of recycled materials in products.

The measures under consideration include requirements that producers pay the full cost of dealing with their waste, adopting a deposit return scheme to increase consumer recycling rates, and establishing a consistent set of materials that can be collected for recycling across all UK households.

Governments do have a role to play in reducing plastic waste, Crotty added, stating that legislation is necessary to change consumer behaviour, a key link in the chain.

“This is about cooperation. I think there is a huge role for European regulation, and room for national regulation," he said.

“For me, in order to get as much product back into the chain as possible, you need to change consumer behaviour, [and] I think national governments have a role to play in that."

The consultations conclude on 13 May.