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Plastics recycler calls for VAT exemption on recycled plastics

MBA Polymers, a multinational plastics recycling company, called on the UK government to suspend value added tax (VAT) on recycled plastics to help stimulate consumer demand and encourage investment in the UK’s plastics recycling industry.

The call was made at a presentation at Portcullis House, Westminster at an event entitled “The future of recycling –The challenge for plastics.” Around 100 politicians, environmental groups and major plastics-users attended the presentation.

MBA Polymers chief executive, Nigel Hunton, commented, “Plastics recycling is a big opportunity for the UK plc. We currently lie behind leading European countries in terms of the recycling rates of post-consumer plastic waste and in 2011 the UK performance was just over 20 percent. Sweden, Norway, Germany and France were all above us.”

“The UK can become a world leader in this sector,” continued Hunton, “but we can only do that by changing some of our approach. Recycled plastics are a resource – not a waste product. There is the potential for major environmental and economic benefit such as attracting new jobs and investment to the UK, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and providing a competitive advantage for the UK through green marketing and innovative technology.

MBA’s view is that [we] only need to do a few things differently in the future.

First, a level playing field is needed. Auditing of downstream overseas plastic waste processors, similar to domestic processors is needed. We allow the export of plastics waste but it needs better and more vigorous enforcement and checking.

Second, the UK needs something to incentivize the market with legislation designed to encourage post-consumer recycled plastics content in new products, such as exemption or a reduced rate of VAT.