Plans to tax coffee cups and takeaway boxes have been placed on hold as Chancellor Philip Hammond looks to target plastic consumption among manufacturers in his autumn budget.
Hammond is expected to announce new levies on manufacturers to discourage the use of packaging which is hard to recycle – including black food trays – while encouraging the use of recyclable materials.
Figures within the treasury hope this will signal a sea change in product manufacturing while not directly charging consumers.
Robert Jenrick, MP, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Our primary focus is on persuading the producers and manufacturers of single-use plastic to use recycled plastic wherever possible rather than new plastic and to dissuade them from using those plastics which are very difficult to recycle, rather than new tax incentives for consumers.”
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of campaign group A Plastic Planet, told The Times: “The public have spoken and we are asking our elected government to show real leadership now.
“That means much more than a tokenist tax on unrecyclable plastic or a bottle-deposit scheme. After a year of noise throughout the UK we need proper action rather than a sticking-plaster approach.
“We must incentivise those brands that are going plastic free. Those who continue to use plastic must be taxed heavily and that revenue ring-fenced to build a waste-management infrastructure that is relevant for today, not our plastic yesterday.”