Waste features in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement to the House of Commons

30 October 2018

Waste features in the Chancellors Autumn Statement to the House of Commons

Prevalence of single use plastic is now being tackled by government.

As waste featured in the Chancellor's Autumn Budget , HM Treasury made contact with arc21 to confirm details around the measures announced in respect of plastics. This followed our response to the recent consultation on single use plastics.


HM Treasury confirmed plans for a new tax on plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic, subject to consultation. This forms part of a cross-government package of measures to address single-use plastic waste, including reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility system and new funding for innovation as part of the government’s wider strategy to address plastics waste. Further detail to be set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy later this year.


To reduce the problem of excessive and environmentally harmful plastic packaging, and incentivise manufacturers to use recycled plastic, the government will introduce a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022. Subject to consultation, this tax will apply to plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, to transform financial incentives for manufacturers to produce more sustainable packaging. The tax will work alongside the reform of the Packaging Producer Responsibility system, which will aim to increase producer responsibility for the costs of their packaging waste, including plastic. This system will provide an incentive for producers to design packaging that is easier to recycle and penalise the use of difficult to recycle packaging, such as black plastics. To ensure a coherent approach, the government will consult on both of these together in the coming months. Future revenues raised from these measures will enable investment to address single-use plastic, waste and litter to meet the government’s ambitions for resources and waste.


The government has also announced £20m new funding to tackle plastics and boost recycling: £10 million more for plastics R&D and £10 million to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter, such as smartbins. This is in addition to the £20m for plastics R&D through the Plastics Innovation Fund announced in March 2018.


The government recognised the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. The government has concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this time be effective in encouraging widespread reuse. Businesses are already taking steps to limit their environmental impact, but the government expects industry to go further and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. In the meantime, the government will look in the Resources and Waste Strategy at the best way to tackle the environmental impact of cups.


In addition to the above, the Chancellor also announced increases in Landfill Tax with the new rates being:

1. Standard rate £91.35/tonne from 1 April 2019 and £94.15/tonne from 1 April 2020 and

2. Lower rate £2.90/tonne from 1 April 2019 and £3.00/tonne from 1 April 2020.