Date posted: 6th March 2013
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE: the motto that is now law. Legislation in packaging waste is at the forefront, with sustainability becoming an ever more important feature of all UK businesses. What legislation could be introduced, and is a change needed to comply with the Waste Framework Directive and the UK’s recycling targets?
A new packaging levy
Deputy chair Local Government Association’s (LGA) environment board, Clyde Loakes, used the launch of a ‘Local Waste Review’ to propose that the Government should introduce a new ‘packaging levy’ in order to get a grip on packaging. He stated: “multinational companies are burdening local authorities with excess costs from excess packaging.”
Councillor Loakes has gone to print on this, suggesting another tax should be put in place in order to help Local Authorities to hit their recycling targets. It is not the only Government body to back the idea, with various other bodies wanting an extra packaging levy or tax applied so as to help increase recycling.
Conflict with current legislation
The introduction of this packaging levy would be an additional tax to the current Packaging Waste Directive ‘packaging waste tax’ that many businesses already pay. If your business has an annual turnover of £2M and generates 50 tonnes of packaging waste a year, you are obligated to pay a tax based on the amount of packaging you enter into the UK waste stream. This tax itself is likely to increase as the UK aims to keep up with the ever increasing recycling targets.
The Packaging Society
Please follow this link to a letter written by The Packaging Society chairman, Tony Hancock, urging Councillor Loakes to reassess his idea and look at ways to increase revenues generated from waste separation in order to meet recycling targets. By just adding another tax on top does not generate a long term plan to ensure targets are met.
The Packaging Society suggests that instead of another packaging levy, Local Authorities could raise more revenue from packaging waste than is currently generated. As an example, although more weights are collected by co-mingling recycling, the inclusion of glass in co-mingled collections results in a high proportion of glass being sent for aggregate, generating a much lower price than colour separated glass. The Packaging Society believes that this problem will not be satisfactorily resolved until Local Authorities are targeted to recycle specific amounts of material rather than just divert from landfill.
Is this just a new source of revenue for the LGA in tough economic times, or does it offer a genuine and practical solution? What do you think? Can recycling targets be met without the need for further taxation? Should the Government introduce a packaging levy to rouse more activity in recycling? Let us know.