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29th October 2018

SUEZ response to budget announcements on resources and waste

Responding to the budget today (29 October 2018), SUEZ issues the following statement.

The budget contains a number of measures potentially affecting the resources and waste sector, including:

  • A new tax on the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022, applying to all plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
  • Reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility System with the aim of incentivising the design of packaging that is easier to recycle and penalising the use of difficult to recycle packaging, such as black plastics – with consultations on both measures published in the coming months.
  • The Treasury does not intend to introduce a tax on disposable cups but will address this issue through the Waste and Resources Strategy.
  • The Government will invest £20m to support plastics research and development, and to pioneer innovative approaches to boost recycling and reduce litter – and committed £10m to clearing up abandoned waste sites.
  • No incineration tax proposed, but Treasury holds this in reserve if the necessary recycling performance is not achieved through alternative means.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said:

“The Chancellor today has signalled a much-needed change to the way we produce and consume plastics and packaging. It is right that, as a society, we tackle the scourge of single-use items by taxing a throw-away culture and rewarding a re-use and recycle economy.

“The Treasury sends a clear message that this Government is serious about delivering a circular economy for Britain and we are pleased to see that the Chancellor is not taking a piecemeal, straw-by-straw, approach, but will consult on a more holistic tax which seeks to drive a circular economy in recycled materials.

“To create a circular economy we need to look at taxation at the point of production, so that producers are encouraged to innovate; to create more recyclable products; and to help consumers play their part more effectively.

“Innovative new product and packaging designs, along with collection, recycling and reprocessing systems, can keep valuable materials in circulation time and time again, rather than being consigned to the bin. The market has already shown incredible potential for innovation in recycling and sustainable solutions, but needs the right policy and economic framework to support solutions at scale. We are pleased to see the Chancellor announce that £10m will be set aside for more plastics R&D, and a further £10m to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter.

“Properly applied, the right policy, tax and legislative levers would make sustainable, innovative and resource-efficient solutions more competitive than their polluting competitors which will fundamentally drive the circular economy.

“We also note that the chancellor did not propose a tax on incineration and we believe this is right, as we continue to move material out of landfill, but we understand that the treasury holds this in reserve if we do not see an improvement in recycling – which we believe will need to be driven through a gold-standard Extended Producer Responsibility regime.

“The upcoming resources and waste strategy from Defra, due next month, promises a more root and branch reform of the whole way we produce, consume, collect and recycle products and packaging in England and we very much hope that these measures put forward by the chancellor today are just the first steps of the journey – heralding a systemic shift from a throwaway to a thrifty society.”

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