The Packaging and Films Association (PAFA) has slammed bag tax legislation due to come into force in England Oct. 5, saying it is incomplete on the issue of exemptions and ill-advised on biodegradable bags.
PAFA added that the move is out of line with similar taxes in Wales and Scotland and will cause widespread retailer and consumer confusion across the United Kingdom.
The association's chief executive Barry Turner said: “This will inevitably result in confusing messages for retailers and for consumers. Effectively, we now have regulation in England that not only will not bring overall environmental benefit, but will be inconsistent with that already in place with other … administrations.”
While it welcomed efforts to find a material that will degrade in all environments, and that can be assured to have no impact on recycling streams, the association insisted that such a material presently does not exist.
The body also stressed the bag tax would not help change behavior with regard to littering in general.
“If anything, with paper bags now being exempt from the charge, there is a real threat that we will suffer more paper in the litter stream, so the government is in real danger of creating more problems with this apparent solution,” Turner said.
“The packaging industry needs to rally together and move the debate on litter forward to focus it where it should be — on consistent enforcement of existing regulation, changing behavior, moving toward a zero tolerance on litter by all and finally ensuring proper provision to ensure that that litter bins are in the right place, that there are sufficient in number and they are emptied regularly.”