NEWS: UK needs 'Italian plastic tax'

A new poll suggests 98% of MPs believe 'compostable packaging alternatives can be part of the solution to the plastic crisis' - as calls grow for an Italian-style 'plastic tax' in the UK.

Campaigners say the poll shows support for the Government to 'introduce ambitious targets for compostables in the Environment Bill' following previous criticism of its 'lack of focus on plastic alternatives'.

The UK Environment Bill is set to enter the committee stage this week where amendments will be considered.

The poll of 100 of the 650 MPs, carried out in February 2020 by Survation, also found that 86% of MPs believed 'the UK Government should invest more in infrastructure to deal with compostable materials'.

The Italian tax of €0.45/kg will apply to single-use plastic packaging manufactured or imported to Italy and will take effect on 1 July 2020. The amount was reduced from €1/kg initially proposed by the government - following criticism from industry, consumer and environmental organisations.

Daphna Nissenbaum (pictured), CEO and co-founder of TIPA, a creator of compostable flexible packaging said: “These results demonstrate that across the political spectrum there is essentially absolute support for compostables.

“I’m glad to see that MPs agree that to tackle the plastic pollution crisis and work together to amend the Environment Bill to at the very least include targets for compostable packaging.“

Last month a signed open letter which called on the Government to include ambitious targets for compostables in the Environment Bill was published in The Guardian.

The letter was signed by a cross-party group of MPs, Peers, NGOs and academics including Labour MP Preet Gill; Conservative MP Matthew Offord; and Green Party Peer Jenny Jones.

The letter outlined how 'compostable packaging provides a smart solution to the problems currently caused by film and flexible packaging which amounts to around 400,000 tonnes of plastic used in the UK per year, comprising 25% of all plastic packaging. Just 4% of this type of plastic is currently recycled'.

Half of those polled by Survation were MPs of the governing Conservative Party; 32% Labour; and 11% SNP. MPs from the Liberal Democrats; DUP; Sinn Féin; and Plaid Cymru were also represented in the study.

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