Spring Statement 2018: reducing single-use plastic

In his Spring Statement, as widely predicted, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a call for evidence to explore how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics, by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling

The government says it will also use the consultation to explore how to drive innovation in this area to achieve the same outcomes, with some funding available for businesses and universities to carry out work in this area.

The aim is to look at how the same economic incentives can drive innovation, for example by stimulating businesses to develop and integrate new technology, or by encouraging growth in the recycling industry by addressing barriers to investment.

The consultation will look broadly across the whole supply chain, from production and retail to consumption and disposal, in order to gain the best possible understanding of the whole landscape before the government decides on a course of action.

The questions include the definition of ‘single use’ plastic; consideration of the so-called ‘latte levy’ on plastic coffee cups, and changes to the design and collection of plastic materials.

The consultation closes on 18 May.

Tackling the plastic problem is here.

Report by Pat Sweet

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