It is common knowledge today that plastic has a major impact on the environment. For this reason, environmental legislation for plastic production and consumption has been introduced at both European levels and within the Netherlands. The latest measure to reduce the “plastic soup” is the introduction of a plastic tax in the EU. European government leaders have decided to impose a plastic tax on all non-recyclable plastic packaging waste starting from the 1st of January 2021.
€ 0,80 plastic tax per kilo of plastic
The primary goal of the newly introduced plastic tax is to promote the recycling of plastic. That is why the EU is introducing a tax rate of € 0.80 per kilo. This tax only applies to plastic that is not reused and that is therefore harmful to the environment. The amount of tax to be paid by each EU country is therefore dependent on the amount of plastic that is not reused. The less plastic a country recycles, the more plastic tax it will pay to the EU.
The introduction of plastic tax may be a step in the right direction in the fight against plastic pollution, because recycling plastic is an important way to combat single-use plastic and, thus, the “plastic soup”.
Part of the European recovery fund
The introduction of the plastic tax in the EU is part of the negotiations for a European recovery fund of € 750 billion. This recovery fund is meant for European countries that have suffered severly from the corona pandemic. The law regulating this tax has yet to be developed and approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. It is only after their approvement that the law will officially apply.
Criticism of the new tax
While many authorities are in favor of this new plastic tax in the EU, there is also some criticism for the new law. For example, according to Jurgen Resch, chairman of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), the tax rate is too mild. He is an advocate of the introduction of plastic tax, but he considers the tax rate too low to encourage companies to lower their plastic consumption. He therefore argues for a higher tax rate. Similarly, European association Plastic Europe is also sceptical about the new tax. They believe that the tax can actually hamper the introduction of circular processes instead of accelerating it.
Besides, the tax does not yet apply to new and virgin plastic. This means that the tax does not necessarily prevent the production of new plastic, but only stimulates not using non-recyclable plastic. In the past, former EU Commissioner Oettinger has already suggested the taxation of newly produced plastic. However, this plan has not been accepted thus far. According to several authorities, his plan would have been a more effective way to combat the “plastic soup”.
The importance of plastic recycling
At the same time, we – as Circular Plastics– believe that promoting plastic recycling is certainly an important step towards lowering the amount of plastic pollution. The largest plastic consumption (about 60%) consists of flexible packaging material. That is why there is a lot to be gained here. The plastic tax may be a good step for achieving just that.
As Circular Plastics, we are a strong supporter of plastic recycling. We develop innovative ways to reuse and recycle plastic. We also develop innovative product and packaging solutions that cost less plastic. With those two steps, we can drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastic and together take important steps towards a closed look.