In an article published on November 23, 2017 by news provider Beverage Daily, editor Rachel Arthur reported that the UK government will investigate how a tax on single-use plastics could reduce plastic waste and pollution of the environment. This intention was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond on November 22, 2017 during the government’s Autumn Budget. The tax initiative would build on the 5-pence charge for plastic carrier bags that was introduced in 2015 and has reduced the country’s plastic bag use by 80%, Arthur informed. Hammond’s proposal highlighted disposable plastics such as coffee cups and polystyrene takeaway food containers to be targeted by the tax. However, it is not yet clear whether the tax would also affect recyclable plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) drinking bottles, or focus only on plastics that cannot be easily or at all recycled (e.g. coffee to go cups or takeaway food trays). The UK government will launch a call for evidence in 2018 to determine how a tax on single-use plastics could work and what effects it could have.

According to an article published on the same day by news provider Plastics News Europe (PNE), the British Plastics Federation (BPF) is critical of the government’s tax proposal, calling it a “seemingly quick-win, populist” solution to plastic pollution. BPF further stated: “Plastic packaging products cannot simply be substituted in the same way that plastic bags can without considerably increasing CO2 emissions due to increased food waste; an increase in the volume, bulk and weight of packaging; and an increase in the resources required to produce packaging from alternative materials.”

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Rachel Arthur (November 23, 2017). “UK to explore tax on single-use plastics.Beverage Daily

PNE (November 23, 2017). “Plastics industry condemns UK plastic packaging taxation plans.

PNE (November 20, 2017). “BPF voices concerns over UK decision to tax plastic packaging.

Damian Carrington (November 30, 2017). “‘Shocking’ rise in rubbish washing up on UK beaches.The Guardian