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Council tax may rise if recycling targets missed

Concerns led to 2020 plastic recycling pledge

A collection of plastic bottles

All types of plastics can be recycled

A new campaign aims to double plastics recycling rates by 2020, as a poll finds that nearly a fifth of councillors believe there’s a high risk of council tax bills rising in the same year if recycling targets aren’t met.

The Plastics 2020 Challenge, backed by MPs from across the political spectrum, is the first time plastics manufacturers and processors themselves have called for a widespread and open debate on recycling, including setting their own targets for reducing the amount of plastic that goes to landfill.

Read our comprehensive recycling guide to find out what you can and can’t recycle, and how you can improve your recycling habits, and watch a recycling video guide with advice from an expert at the campaign body RecycleNow.

Recycling targets

The plastics industry is pledging several commitments on the ‘four Rs’ – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover – including doubling the recycling rate of plastic packaging by 2020.

Underpinning the launch of the campaign is new research into council confidence in meeting recycling targets. 

Only half of the councillors responsible for recycling are confident they will meet the government’s waste strategy targets for 2010, 2015 and 2020, suggesting large and unnecessary hikes in council tax bills could be a possibility unless action is taken.

Almost a fifth of councillors reported a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk of council tax bills having to rise in 2020 because the target would not be met. 

Asked about the scale of potential council tax increases if the target was missed, 18% said it would be above 5%, with half of those respondents saying it would be over 10%.

Plastic recycling challenge

The campaign also challenges the government, MPs, environmental groups and consumers to join forces with the industry and work together to find ways to improve plastic recycling rates and reduce packaging use.

It follows research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) that showed that non-bottle household plastic packaging of items like yoghurt pots and plastic tubs was now both technically and commercially viable.

And in a recent Which? investigation into excess packaging, 94% of our members thought there was too much food packaging and nearly all felt that manufacturers and supermarkets should do more to reduce it.

Recycling proposals ‘welcome’

Councillor Paul Bettison of the Local Government Association said: ‘It is very welcome to see the plastics industry come to the table with proposals to drive up plastic recycling rates as well as wider initiatives for resource efficiency.

‘Consumers have shown high levels of support for recycling, and with the industry’s engagement I hope we see the challenge being met.’

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