The Treasury first announced the tax on plastics in 2018 alongside the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. The tax, which will be introduced in April 2022, places a £200 per tonne levy on producers or importers of plastic packaging if they do not include 30% recycled content.
But the study, which was conducted in partnership with YouGov and involved 507 businesses, revealed that 83% of businesses were not aware of the tax.
Veolia’s research also found that the two biggest drivers for businesses acting more sustainably are government mandate (30%) and an environmental conscience (48%).
Helen Bird, plastics strategic technical manager, at resources charity WRAP, said: “The end market for recycled plastic is central to circularity and it’s positive to see that ahead of implementation, the plastics tax has positively impacted on demand. However, challenges remain. For some packaging it is practical to reach higher levels of recycled content, while for others, the roll out of technological developments will be required to include any.”
She added that many businesses were “struggling to secure enough recycled material to meet [voluntary] targets such as the UK Plastics Pact”.
Tim Duret, the director of sustainable technology, Veolia UK and Ireland added: “The plastics packaging tax is removing the economic burden of acting more sustainably and levelling the playing field for businesses. In order to continue this momentum, we need to escalate the tax and roll it out across all types of plastics like construction, cars, furniture and electric goods.”