New Tax on Non-Recyclable Plastic Coming to Croatia Next Year

Lauren Simmonds

As Vecernji list writes on the 7th of August, 2020, the tax on non-recyclable plastic packaging is one of the new taxes on its way to Croatia as of 2021 that will finance the repayment of a part of the 750 billion euro loan that will finance measures to revive the economies of European Union countries affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The new tax on non-recyclable plastic will be introduced on the 1st of January 2021, it will be imposed by all European Union member states and will repay the joint debt. The tax rate is 800 euros per tonne of non-recyclable plastic packaging. Thankfully, these taxes, at least not directly, will not be borne by citizens. The revenue will go directly to the EU treasury, and not to the budgets of the member states that collect it, Glas Slavonije writes.

The European Union has been stepping up its fight against plastic waste for several years. Two years ago, in January 2018, the Strategy for Plastic Waste Management was presented, with the aim of recycling all plastic packaging by the year 2030 (in a cost-effective manner) and limiting the use of disposable plastic. And then came the idea of ​​introducing the possibility of a plastic tax becoming a new source of revenue for the European Union’s budget.

Under the current proposal, member states would pay 0.80 euros per kilogram of non-recyclable plastic waste. But the details needed for the implementation of this haven’t yet been worked out. What will the criteria for determining the (non) recyclability of plastic packaging actually be? Will common rules of the game be established or will each EU member state set its own rules for how to collect taxes? 

We’re rational to fear a scenario in which each country sets its own national criteria for the types and quantities of non-recyclable plastic packaging, and this could have a negative effect on the common EU market and complicate business for the bloc’s economy. The proposal, analysts note, has caused nervousness in some poorer EU countries, especially those that don’t have a developed recycling system like richer member states do. Therefore, they would have to make higher contributions in the name of this brand new tax. Therefore, the reassuring messages of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, are that a “mechanism to avoid excessive regressive impact on national contributions” will be created for such cases.

For now, there seem to be louder critics around the topic. On the one hand, there are those who have expressed concern about the reduction in tax revenues – because the more plastic is recycled, the taxes on plastic waste will disappear over time. On the other side is the European plastics industry, whose actors warn that the tax could have the totally opposite effect. They believe that plastic tax revenues are not intended to be invested in waste and recycling infrastructure, so this will not increase plastic waste recycling within the bloc.

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