The European Council (the highest political body of the European Union) has approved the introduction of the “plastic tax” from January 1, 2021, Rupec reports, citing the press service of the European Association of Recyclers (EuPC).

For one kilogram of unrefined plastic waste, the EU member states will pay EUR0.8 to the EU budget.

The organizations gave different assessments of the new bill. The EC assessed the new tax as “a contribution to the EU budget aimed at stimulating an increase in the processing of plastic waste.” At the same time, representatives of the European Association of Processors note that it can have the opposite effect. Further fiscal action is not the most effective tool to stimulate the innovation and investment that is needed to achieve the intended goals of the Green Deal policy.

“Since the EU’s plastic tax revenues are not intended to invest in waste disposal and recycling infrastructure, this will not increase the recycling of plastic waste in Europe,” said EuPC managing director Alexander Dangis.

In his opinion, this will lead to a further increase in the cost of plastic recycling and will facilitate the transition to other packaging materials with a large impact on the environment. To truly improve recycling rates across Europe and protect the environment, taxing the disposal of plastic packaging waste is required, he said.

For example, improving the recycling of plastic packaging requires significant investment throughout the plastics value chain. These are investments in innovation, new equipment, in the development of eco-friendly design of plastic packaging, etc.

The expected revenues from the new tax will be about EUR 6-8 billion a year, it is noteworthy that these funds will not be used to invest in a circular economy.

It was previously reported that waste from the fight against COVID 19 has exacerbated plastic pollution. COVID-19 quarantines in various countries have led to a sharp 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but used masks, protective gloves and disinfectant bottles have increased plastic pollution in the environment, according to a report published on Monday. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).