Pressure grows for VAT suspension on recovered plastics

Calls are mounting for a VAT exemption on recycled plastics to help stimulate consumer demand and encourage investment in the UK's plastics recycling industry.

With Britain lagging behind other European countries in terms of recycling post-consumer plastic waste, a leading reprocessor is seeking to exert pressure on ministers to incentivise the market through tax breaks.

According to MBA Polymers chief executive Nigel Hunton, the UK could become a world leader in this sector, but only if it changes its approach.

“Recycled plastics are a resource, not a waste product. Plastics recycling is a big opportunity for UK plc. There is the potential for major environmental and economic benefit … and providing a competitive advantage through ‘green marketing’ and innovative technology,” he commented.

He pointed out that the challenge historically has been recycling plastics from complex waste streams, but technology now exists in the UK to allow effective separation.

This, Hunton added, would help close the loop on what is a challenging material.

“Society’s mostly one-way use of plastics is unsustainable. It’s believed that only 10% of plastics in the world are recycled. Entrepreneurship and new innovative solutions are required to break this trend and instead create functioning eco-cycles.”

Maxine Perella

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