The UK government has announced it will consult on reforming the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) to encourage investment in chemical recycling.
The consultation will garner feedback on whether to allow a “mass balance approach” for calculating the proportion of recycled content in chemically recycled plastics for the PPT. The government says the consultation will be launched later this year (2023).
In its announcement, HM Treasury said a “mass balance approach” for PPT is a way to calculate the recycled content in packaging made from chemically recycled plastic, so it can contribute to the 30% recycled content threshold above which no tax is due.
Chemical recycling breaks down plastic waste to a molecular level to produce feedstock which can be used to produce new plastic.
The UK government says: “This means it can offer a complementary route for plastic waste which can’t be mechanically recycled, reducing amounts going to incineration or landfill. It can also produce a higher quality of recycled plastic.”
Mass balance methodology is the only chain of custody method that will enable the chemical recycling industry to grow.
CIWM said it welcomed the announcement that the UK government will be launching a consultation on reforming the PPT to encourage investment in chemical recycling and will submit a full response following a dialogue with our members.
In response to the announcement, the British Plastics Federation (BPF), commented: “The BPF is pleased to see the government announce that it will be launching a consultation on allowing mass balance to be a method for calculating recycled content within the PPT. However, we are calling on the government to release this consultation imminently.
“Mass balance methodology is the only chain of custody method that will enable the chemical recycling industry to grow, which will in turn maximise the amount of plastic the UK is able to recycle. The lack of clarity to date has prevented companies from investing in the UK and some have looked elsewhere to build facilities.
“To increase the UK’s recycling rate, reduce the country’s reliance on exporting waste and to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, it is vital that there is significant investment in recycling infrastructure.”