Italy waters down plastic tax after complaints from business

Italy waters down plastic tax after complaints from business
Photo: AFP
The Italian government has now halved its planned tax on plastics and excluded products that contain recycled and biodegradable plastic from the levy.

The changes to Italy's new plastic tax were contained within an amendment made to the 2020 budget bill on Thursay, Italian media reports.

The proposed policies, which are set to come into force in January, are currently being scrutinised by the Budget Committee.

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While there was much excitement over the initial announcements of plastic and sugar taxes in Italy, both of these proposals have since been softened considerably after an outcry from businesses, as has a planned tax on company cars.

The tax has now been set at 50 cents per kilogram of plastic product instead of one euro.

The law will also now exclude all medical devices and containers, not just syringes, as was written in the first draft.

Politicians behind the bill, most notably members of the Five Star Movement, which has long made the environment a central campaign issue, said the plastic tax is an environmental policy.

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But plastic industry bosses claim the tax has “no environmental purpose” and that “it only serves to 'make cash' and will only damage the environment, innovation, industry and workers.”

Trade association Plastics Europe said in a press release that “Italy is the second biggest producer of plastics products after Germany,” and claimed the “regressive tax” would put 50,000 jobs at risk in Italy.

The plastic tax also faced opposition from Italia Viva, the new centrist party led by ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi, which wants the tax policy abolished completely, and the far-right Brothers of Italy party.

The amendment means expected revenue from the plastic tax will drop from an expected 1.1 billion euros to around four billion.

The latest amendments to the budget mean a total loss of 1.7 billion euros for the government, local media reports.

 


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