Broadcast from the Bins - Wales Green Taxes
Wales to Introduce ‘Green Taxes’
The Welsh Government are asking the public for their ideas and opinions on new taxes that are being considered for introduction in Wales. The ideas will be debated then a shortlist will be published in the autumn. Among the ideas for new taxes are so-called ‘Green Taxes’ that will cement the country’s reputation for being one of the best performing nations in the world when it comes to recycling and sustainability.
Taxes and legislation up for discussion
Deposit return scheme
Some politicians have suggested that the introduction of a deposit return scheme could reduce the use of plastic bottles. This would help to combat the blight of litter on the streets, in the countryside, and on beaches. A charge on plastic bottles would pay for the correct collection and disposal of plastic. Some members of parliament are calling for legislation to go further, and for a green tax to put on polystyrene food and drinks containers which are hard to recycle and take an age to decompose.
What is a deposit return scheme?
A scheme involves paying a slight deposit (say 5-10p per bottle), then getting this deposit back when you return the bottle back to where you bought it from.
Why is it a good idea?
It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to make new plastic, and design and create a new bottle, and this is without the carbon footprint that shipping them around the world will create. So it stands to reason that these bottles should not be simply discarded after one use.
Millions of tonnes of plastic packaging end up in our oceans and waterways, and the rest breaks down into smaller pieces, which might not ever degrade. Successful deposit return schemes in Denmark and Norway have all but eliminated the problem of plastic waste.
What does it mean for you?
In some countries, there are ‘reverse vending machines’ in supermarkets, where you deposit your bottles, the machine identifies and sorts it, then it gives you your deposit back. You could get this in the form of cash, or a voucher to use in the supermarket. There is huge public support for schemes such as these.
Fly-tipping and landfill
Fly-tippers will be charged twice for illegally dumping waste in Wales after a new law was passed by the Welsh assembly. The Landfill Disposals Tax will come into force from April next year. Fly-tippers can already be fined and prosecuted, but when the new legislation comes into force, they will also be taxed on the waste they dump. The government said that this new financial deterrent would make potential fly-tippers think twice. The new tax will replace the current landfill tax.
Cleaning-up illegally dumped waste costs Welsh taxpayers an estimated £2.1m per year. Fly-tipping is punishable by a fine of up to £50,000 or a prison and term.
What is fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste on private or public land.
Why is it so bad?
Fly-tipping poses a hazard to public health, to the environment, and to wildlife.
Why is the new tax and legislation necessary?
Everyone who handles waste, including householders, has a 'duty of care' to dispose of it responsibly. According to the Department for The Environment, household waste including DIY materials and white goods, accounts for half of all fly-tipped rubbish. There are also people who illegally dispose of waste for cash.