LONDON -- MBA Polymers Inc. has called on the United Kingdom government to reduce the value-added tax on recycled plastics to help stimulate consumer demand and encourage investment in the plastics recycling industry.
CEO Nigel Hunton, invited politicians to help "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 [value-added tax]."
"These changes can accelerate recycling in the U.K. and provide a win-win-win for society, the environment and recycled plastics businesses in the U.K.," he added, although no VAT target figure was given.
Hunton was speaking at "The future of recycling –The challenge for plastics," an event at Westminster attended by politicians, environmental groups and plastics users.
He told his audience that the U.K. could become "a world leader in this sector" if the right level of legislative support is provided.
"Plastics recycling is a big opportunity for UK plc," he explained, adding: "The challenge historically has been recycling plastics from complex waste streams, but the technology now exists in the UK to allow effective separation."
The threat from China
The audience, which included Environment Secretary Ed Davey, responded enthusiastically to MBA's presentation, which also featured a keynote speech from company President Mike Biddle, who warned that products made from recycled plastics coming out of China often failed to meet acceptable safety standards.
"Tests have shown traces of lead, cadmium and other undesirables – things you wouldn't want in your household products," he warned.
Biddle said that there must therefore be enforceable international standards in order to ensure that the recycling vision isn't tarnished by bad practice.
"Plastic is too valuable to throw away," he added.
MBA is based in Richmond, Calif., and has recycling plants in China, Austria and England.