A Plastics Tax in the UK and Spain: Lessons Learned and Implications

1. Is the current amount of recycled plastic sufficient?

The UK plastics manufacturing and recycling industry will need to accelerate the infrastructure it needs. A 2020 study by plastic waste specialist RECOUP, which does not specialize in plastic waste, found that plastic recycling capacity in the UK will need to double to meet demand, as a result of the implementation of the plastic tax.

2. Certification tools are needed for potential fraud in rising prices for recycled plastics. (certify) the use of recycled plastic to prevent false declarations. (traceability) the use of recycled plastics in the production process Should additional verification methods be added? In addition to the commonly used EN 15343 standard

3. Effects on plastic packaging design

It is estimated that manufacturers will change the design of plastic packaging in the UK to ensure at least 30% recycled plastic content. due to price pressure and the scarcity of recycled materials Although producers are expected to maximize the share of recycled plastics in order to reduce the tax base to the lowest in Spain.

4. Tendency to switch to other materials

Plastic tariffs can encourage a shift to other materials to avoid tax burdens if the targets are not met PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) remains an advantageous material among plastic packaging as it is the only polymer in which it is used. recyclable and is approved by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) for use in food packaging. So the European market is starting to look for alternative materials that have a lower environmental impact than plastics, mainly by assessing the environmental impact throughout the product’s life cycle.

5. Using alternative materials can affect food preservation.

Admittedly, it is not easy to find alternative materials with excellent food preservation properties similar to plastic. because otherwise Efforts to reduce the use of plastic packaging with alternative materials It can cause more food waste problems. Including the waste of energy and resources that must be used in the production of those foods as well. Consumers also need to understand the limitations of plastic alternatives.

6. The recycling infrastructure is not ready.

One of the key findings of the 2020 study by RECOUP found that the UK needs to double its plastic recycling capacity and infrastructure. Including the infrastructure for waste collection and sorting. To have enough material to meet demand, use 30% recycled plastic for packaging without being taxed. It is expected that so far these structures are ready. Plastic packaging manufacturers in the UK may move production out of the country to supply enough material, adding to the country’s already insufficient recycling industry.

7. Enthusiasm for collecting and recycling plastics

The money collected from British taxpayers will not be injected back into investments in plastic recycling infrastructure. But this can only happen if entities under the EPR mechanism set EPR rates that reflect the ease of recycling and the main proportion of recyclable materials. Eco-modulation

Although the plastic tax is a tool to encourage manufacturers to reduce the use of new plastic. to solve the problem of plastic pollution at the source but it can have a negative effect If the government does not plan carefully enough or provide the infrastructure. to be sufficient It will be interesting to see how both countries adapt and solve these problems. On the other hand, if successful, the UK and Spain could set an example for other countries. Therefore, Thai entrepreneurs should be vigilant and start reconsidering the use of their packaging material by increasing the use of recycled plastics or designing them to be recyclable, which will benefit the environment and help save money Cost of doing business with

Author: Dr. Suchitra Wassanadamrongdee, Chulalongkorn University Environmental Research Institute

Note: This article is part of a study project for public policy, waste management reform and circular economy promotion (Phase 2) under the plan to support solid waste and hazardous waste management system reform funded by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation ( Thai Health Promotion Foundation)

Data source:





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