Budget 2018: Plastic packaging tax should spur business on to turn their waste into wealth

In response to the Chancellor announcing details on a new tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recyclable plastic in today’s Budget, Gudrun Cartwright, environment director at Business in the Community comments on the need for businesses to rethink their resources for the 21st century to help their bottom line, as well as the planet.
Gudrun Cartwright, environment director at Business in the Community, said: “Today’s announcement on a new plastic packaging tax is a sign that Government is serious about tackling plastic pollution, however, plastics are just part of the problem.  We have been issued with a stark warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:  we have just 12 years to mitigate the risk of runaway climate change.  Making much better use of plastic and other resources like textiles, chemicals, metals and food will be critical if we are to rise to the challenge.  Ensuring that any new tax on plastic is ringfenced to enable innovation for long-lasting solutions that position the UK as world leaders in tackling shared challenges such as these will be essential
“Our ‘take, make, waste’ economic model will no longer cut it so businesses need to rethink how resources are valued and managed.  Businesses are in a unique position to act on breaking this cycle so we can create the tipping point needed to turn the tide on waste.  Attitudes towards waste must change, moving away from seeing it as someone else’s responsibility and more as a source of wealth.  This goes from thinking about how companies can create less waste in the first place, to making sure it’s sorted properly, to finding new ways to turn any waste back into a valuable resource. 
‘We must look beyond plastic bags, coffee cups and ketchup packets to the incredibly broad range of products we use, from furniture to IT equipment to food and clothing.  Instead of using these resources, and disposing of them once they’ve reached the end of their useful life, there is an equally huge range of opportunities to extend their life by reusing and remanufacturing them, as well as by recycling them.
“The business case is clear – using resources more efficiently and avoiding waste can save money and enhance productivity.  Waste is shipped abroad because we don’t value it, and therefore we don’t design things with reuse in mind.  Now is the time to not only turn the tide on waste but to turn waste into wealth, and see it for the hugely valuable resource it could be.”

Notes to editor
For interviews with Gudrun Cartwright, please contact Katherine Howbrook on 07515 119 096 or at Katherine.howbrook@bitc.org.uk
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart.