Veolia calls on government to escalate Plastic Packaging Tax

Veolia has called for the government to escalate the Plastic Packaging Tax to “incentivise the end markets for recycled content, give investors confidence to build domestic infrastructure and stimulate green economic growth”.

Veolia said the UK will need to invest £1.1 billion in building ten new plastic sorting and 30 new plastic reprocessing facilities

Having commissioned research by NGO WRAP, Veolia wanted to understand the economic and environmental impacts of escalating the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Set at £217.85 per tonne tax from 1 April 2024 for plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content, Veolia said the tax is not achieving its aims as “only 22% of material used in plastic packaging is from recycled sources”.

Veolia said that by signalling a clear direction of travel and increasing the Plastic Packaging Tax, it will “stimulate demand” for recycled content from brands and producers who are already “under pressure from consumers to demonstrate their sustainability credentials”.

Reported in a survey by YouGov in February 2024, 82% of UK adults would like to see more recycled content in the packaging they buy. 58% said the Government is doing too little to tackle environmental issues.

Resource the future

The recommendation set out in Veolia’s Resource the Future report is to increase the Plastic Packaging Tax to “35% recycled content and £275 per tonne this year”, escalating to 50% and £500 per tonne by 2030.

To achieve this, Veolia said the UK will need to invest “£1.1 billion in building ten new plastic sorting and 30 new plastic reprocessing facilities, creating 2,500 new jobs and reducing annual carbon emissions by 1.8 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalent”.

The company has said that escalating the Plastic Packaging Tax allow UK brands, manufacturers and recyclers to continue to trade across both UK and European markets without falling behind European Union (EU) legislation.

The EU is targeting mandatory recycled content, rather than incentives, reaching up to 65% by 2040.

Gavin Graveson, Veolia senior executive vice president, Northern Europe Zone, said: “The recycled plastic industry cannot be ignored if we are serious about building a green economy.

“The Plastic Packaging Tax is a crucial lever to stimulate growth in the sector, but it needs recalibrating, so we create a market where it is cheaper to be sustainable and more expensive to pollute by using virgin polymers.

“We need to bring thousands of tonnes worth of recycling capacity online – and fast. But this can be a great opportunity for the Government to unlock private investment, new jobs and carbon savings. Backing green policy isn’t a zero-sum game.”

To find out more about changes in the sector, visit the National Letsrecycle.com Conference on 6 March at QEII Centre in London. To book tickets to attend or for more information please click here.

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