NovaLoop GmbH - EU Plastics Tax

Under the spotlight… EU plastics “tax”

The next long-term budget 2021-2027 outlines a plastics “tax”, applicable from January 1, 2021, which is wildly debated in the media and industry. Within the framework of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) adopted on 10 November 2020, a plastics tax was agreed upon: from 1 January 2021, contributions from EU Member States will also be calculated on the basis of the amount of non-recycled plastic packaging waste. This is not a “tax” per se, but a method of calculating national contributions to the EU budget.

With a levy of €800/ton of non-recycled plastics packaging waste, the industry expects a significant increase in collection and recycling rates in the laws implementing the Packaging Directive – and indeed, at first glance, this seems to be an effective way of keeping the level of the levy as low as possible and at the same time contributing to a “greener” Europe.

However, the idea of focusing on packaging recycling is likely to fall short in the long run. In order to achieve a sustainable reduction of non-recycled packaging, aspects of packaging design must also and especially be considered to fundamentally reduce the amount of waste produced. The Packaging Directive and the increase in collection and recycling rates is the wrong instrument – similar to the extension of product bans which happened under the Directive on Disposable Plastics. It therefore remains to be seen whether and in what form requirements that take into account the basic idea of “reduce, reuse, recycling” will be reflected in the field of eco-design in the future.