UK Government to explore taxation as a means of preventing plastic pollution of the ocean reports, 22nd November 2017: Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced plans to investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste.

Following the announcement in the chancellor’s Autumn Budget statement, 22nd November, HM Treasury confirmed the government will launch “a call for evidence in early 2018 on how the tax system or charges could help to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste”.

Speaking to MPs, Mr Hammond said: “Audiences across the country, glued to Blue Planet II, have been starkly reminded of the problems of plastics pollution. Now I want us to become a world leader in tackling the scourge of plastic, littering our planet and our oceans. With My Right Honourable Friend the Environment Secretary I will investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste.”

Defra (Department for the Environment) is already consulting on a deposit return scheme which would see consumers pay a deposit which is refundable once the empty bottle or container is returned.

Following this announcement, experts within the waste and recycling sector have welcomed the consultation.

Richard Kirkman, chief technology & innovation officer at Veolia UK and Ireland, said the company supports any initiative that encourages more recycling. However, he explained, the ‘real value’ will be realised if the tax revenue is spent on finding new solutions to tackle these ‘single use’ products.

Mr Kirkman said: “As a nation, we need to recognise the importance of recycling plastic to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or ending up in our oceans. After all, we fail to recycle almost half of the plastics bottles we use. Therefore, we believe there needs to be a clear distinction between what is and isn’t ‘single use’ plastic, to help people make informed decisions. Clear labelling is key. For example, plastic bottles are not ‘single use’ if they’re recycled, whereas straws, takeaway food trays and plastic cutlery often cannot be used again.”

Mr Kirkman suggests that the solution to making all plastics ‘easily recyclable’ lies in collaboration. “At Veolia we want to ensure sustainability throughout the entire packaging supply chain by working with designers, manufacturers and processors to find sustainable solutions, while raising awareness with consumers,” he said.


Source:, 22nd November 2017. For further details, see


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