Plastics charges and what they mean for the industry

The market and outlook for recycled plastic waste was already complex. In addition to brand pledges and targets, an unstable market, a lack of recyclate and competitive virgin prices, we are now facing the addition of the EU’s €800/tonne plastic packaging waste charge.

The EU plastics charge of €800/tonne came into force from 1 January 2021 and is paid by each member of the EU’s member states. It will use current reporting obligations under the waste directive and its implementing decision to calculate the amount each member state is required to pay.
The charge is not a tax – although it is commonly referred to as one – because it is payable at state level rather than by individuals or corporations. Nation states could, however, seek to recover the cost of the charge through taxation.

If recycling rates are revised down due to changes in reporting, this will result in a heavier financial burden for each member state.


  • Why the EU plastic charge may lead to regulatory divergence
  • Why the pandemic is likely to increase regulatory pressure
  • How the law of unintended consequences has affected the recycling industry

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