Spring Statement: Government seeks views on single-use plastic

Spring Statement: Government seeks views on single-use plastic

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that he will seek the views of industry on reducing single-use plastic waste through the tax system.

He made the announcement in his Spring Statement yesterday (13th March), highlighting the damage to the environment from disposable plastics like coffee cups, plastic cutlery and foam trays. The government will now look to the industry for their views on how best to use the tax system to encourage the responsible use of plastic. It comes after proposals to impose a ‘latte levy’ on the use of disposable coffee cups.

Some of the money raised from any tax changes will be used to encourage the creation of new, greener products and services, Hammond said. In addition, £20m from existing budgets will be given to businesses and universities to research ways to reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.

The announcement was largely welcomed by the Food and Drink Federation, which acknowledged that more needs to be done to reduce litter and drive up recycling of all materials, including plastics.

“It is important that any financial investments be made where they can be most effective in driving change, such as reform of the current UK producer responsibility system for packaging,” said Helen Munday, chief scientific officer at the Food and Drink Federation. “Additionally, it is vital that these innovations and other actions take full account of the important role of plastics in protecting and preserving food products throughout the food and drink supply chain. Plastics have become an integral part of ensuring food safety and help to prevent and minimise food waste, and those roles must be filled to ensure a safe, affordable, and sustainable food and drink value chain.”