Ministers to ramp up low quality plastic costs in bid to drive out unrecyclable material

Posted On: 
20th May 2018

Ministers are reportedly preparing to make the cost of manufacturing using unrecyclable plastics so “exorbitantly high” that it will end use of the materials altogether.

The Government has announced plans to abolish plastic waste by 2042
PA Images

Whitehall insiders are said to believe the move will have the greatest impact of all the Government’s programmes in their attempt to abolish all plastic waste by 2042.

The scheme would see a hike in the cost of a “packaging recovery note”, which firms creating packaging waste have been obliged to buy to offset the cost of dealing with it since 2005.

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It would especially hit producers using low quality, thin plastic packaging such as for bacon or cold meats.

The sky-high costs would mean a reduction in the firms using the materials, while those who do would generate funding to be invested in new recycling capacity.

A government source told the Independent while such a move is “not easily explainable, or sexy in a news sense” like the deposit return scheme on plastic drinks containers, they would have a “big impact”.

“If you speak to companies, people are moving in this direction anyway. The general trend of big business is towards better packaging, recyclable packing,” they said.

“People know their consumers are concerned about it. So, there might be some issues with some businesses, but broadly speaking those in the packaging business are feeling they have to be more green and environmentally friendly.”

Ministers have in recent years already brought in a 5p plastic bag charge, banned microbeads, introduced a wider deposit scheme for single-use drinks containers and proposed a ban on plastic straws and drink stirrers.