EU proposes strong incentive to invest in recycling

From 2021 onwards, EU countries might be required to pay an annual levy of 80 eurocents per kilogramme of unrecycled plastics packaging waste. This proposal was recently announced in the context of EU budget discussions that are underway. If this proposal is agreed, this would create a significant financial incentive for EU countries to increase the recycling of plastics packaging.

Based on 2015 Eurostat plastics packaging recycling figures, this would cost the average EU citizen around €15 per year. But all EU citizens are not equal. Taking into account the amount of plastics packaging waste generated per person and the amount already recycled, some could be paying twice as much.

Annual EU levy on plastics packaging waste (proposed)
EU countryEUR / personTotal
1. Ireland€31.1€150 m
2. Luxembourg€27.0€16 m
3. Estonia€26.8€35 m
4. Denmark€19.1€110 m
5. France€19.0€1,272 m
Click here for the full list

Instead of giving away this money to the EU, countries should invest these significant sums in deploying more and better collection and recycling infrastructure. As Spain has shown, increasing separate collection out of homes (at festivals and football matches, for example) is one good way to increase overall recycling.

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