EU adopts plastics tax from 1 January 2021. And that‘s just the beginning…

Source: Freepik/teksomolika

EU adopts plastics tax from 1 January 2021. And that‘s just the beginning…


Thomas Reiner | 29.09.2020

The European Council has recently decided to introduce an EU-wide plastics tax. The deadline is 1 January 2021 and the tax is €0.80 per kg of non-recycled plastic packaging and has to be paid by Member States into the EU budget. The fresh money will be used to finance the Corona-related reconstruction package.

As a further measure, the Council has decided to increase the required recycling rates for plastic packaging from 2025. At the same time, the calculation methodology will change.

It is to be expected that the EU states will each choose different approaches to financing the levy. The result would be a patchwork of regulations which would make the consequences of the new tax for market participants even more serious.

For one thing is clear: the consequences will be serious. The EU is taking it seriously. The tax is massive and it is only the beginning.

It is already clear that the required recycling rates will continue to rise. It will no longer be a question of quantity, but of quality. So it will not be enough for plastic packaging to be theoretically recyclable. The decisive factor will be that it is actually recycled! Only what is really recycled and remains in the cycle will be considered recyclable.

It is already clear that the new tax will lead to major market shifts. And it is also clear that it represents the beginning rather than the end of regulation. The longer we need to close the plastics loop, the more numerous and more stringent further measures will be. There is no alternative: we have to go down the road and close the plastic cycles completely.

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