Should Manufacturers Be Taxed for Using Plastic?
There are calls for firms who use plastic and other hard to recycle materials in their products to be taxed in a bid to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Business Waste, a UK waste management company, say that taxing firms would force companies to pass on costs to consumers, which might discourage people from buying their products, and it would force companies to look at using more environmentally-friendly materials. It would also provide an incentive for companies to invest in the research and development of sustainable and biodegradable materials so they can avoid plastic tax.
Sadly, you’ll still find non-recyclable plastics in many products, from food and drinks packaging to car parts, and this often gives people no choice but to opt for the less environmentally-friendly option. Many people are also priced out of ethical choices; Business Waste gives the example of a Guardian article that highlighted how ‘plastic-free’ options in shops are often more expensive.
The proposed tax will put the financial burden on manufacturers and retailers, and this will ultimately give customers more choice. Not only that, but the money raised from the tax will be used to fund better recycling schemes around the UK which should boost the overall recycling rate.
A spokesman for Business Waste said that there are measures currently in place that put more responsibility on manufacturers and retailers, but the fact that so much non-recyclable material is still being used shows that they are clearly not working.
Product stewardship is one of the measures, and it makes everyone involved in a product, from design to manufacturing and retail responsible for its environmental impact. The UK is a member of the Global Product Stewardship Council, but Business Waste believes that the French and Italian models of product stewardship are what we should be aiming for. The French system incentivises making products with materials that are easier to recycle by charging fees depending upon how easily materials can be recycled.
Business Waste is calling on the government to take action and force businesses to take their environmental responsibilities more seriously and stop putting profit before the planet.