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What the Budget means for single use plastic

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond

“Convenient for consumers, but deadly for our wildlife and our oceans” Philip Hammond

This week we witnessed Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond deliver his Budget for the coming year, with promising premises for a future less dependent on single use plastic.

Hammond revealed to parliament his proposed policies for“tackling the scourge of plastic littering our planet and oceans”. He declared the so-called ‘Latte Levy’ is inadequate and that “a tax in isolation would not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable.”

One of his proposed solutions is a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic.

Since almost all of the 8.3 billion tons of petroleum-based plastic that has been created since the 1950s is still here on earth, we might as well stem production and recycle what is already here.

This is by no means the first time plastic has been brought up in parliament.

The 2015 5p Plastic Bag Tax was so successful that the number of plastic carrier bags used nationwide plummeted from over seven billion a year to less than half a billion in the first 6 months of its introduction. This saved well over 40,000 tons of plastic – a weight that is roughly equal to 300 blue whales (who are often among the first to experience the problems caused by plastic pollution).

Government policy combined with the changing attitudes of consumers has quickly established some control over the plastic bag problem and changed the way we transport our shopping.

Now is the time for both entities to drive changein the way commodities are packaged. Lets hope this new proposed tax will further contribute to a substantial difference in the quantity of non-biodegradable single-use plastic waste generated by Britain.