The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said it may tax luxury goods in order to cut the amount of waste going to landfill.
Reports in the Sunday Express (August 31) claimed that Defra would tax non recyclable items such as disposable razors and nappies in order to prevent people from buying them as cheap and convenient alternatives to reusable items. The newspaper referred to a report published last year called Household Waste Prevention by environmental consultancy Eunomia Research and Consulting. The research was commissioned from Eunomia by Defra.
A Defra spokesman said: This is an independent report which Defra will consider with interest. Defra commissions research to give us independent advice but the results do not necessarily result in changes to Government policy.
In the report it says: Some products considered luxury, such as alcohol and tobacco, have heavy duties on them. If disposable products were categorised in a similar way, they could be subjected to similar duties.
The Lords Science Committee recently called on the Government to introduce variable VAT rates so products which use sustainable materials and less virgin raw resources, are made a more economically attractive proposition.
British Retail Consortium spokesman Richard Dodd said: It would take a brave politician in this current climate to introduce taxes on basic necessities that people buy regularly.
There may be problems with definitions of disposable. Do you tax disposable cameras, nappies and female hygiene products? They would get a hostile reaction if they did that. Waste is about cultural shift and encouraging people to change their behaviour and recycle more. It is not about piling extra penalties on people.