A new plastic tax could see a levy slapped on disposable coffee cups, chewing gum and throwaway burger trays in Britain.
“The British government will consult on how the tax system can be used to change consumers’ behavior on plastic use”, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.
He said the “call for evidence” would look at the whole supply chain for single use plastics, at alternative materials, re-usable options and re-cycling opportunities.
“It will look at how the tax system can help drive the technological progress and behavioral change that we need, not as a way of raising revenue but as a way of changing behavior and encouraging innovation,” Hammond said during his spring statement to parliament.
Hammond said the government would commit to investing to develop new, greener, products and processes, funded from any revenue raised.
His statement echoed his budget speech last November when he said the government would investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items could reduce waste.
Takeaway boxes, disposable cups, plastic wrap, chewing gum and cigarette filters are some of the plastics that the government is consulting on, news forums reported.
The government said it would consider a “latte levy” of 25p on the millions of disposable coffee cups used each year, “alongside other options”.
A 5p charge on takeaway burger containers has also been mentioned, according to Yahoo.com.
Chewing gum, which is made of synthetic rubber, could also be taxed. A Treasury spokesperson said it was seeking views from everyone and nothing was being “ruled in or out” as part of the call for evidence, Financial Times reported.
The damage caused by plastic, which is extremely durable, has garnered significant global attention. Around 12 million tons of plastic enters the oceans every year.