Government says no to plastic tax. Cleaning beach in Genoa of rubbish Editorial credit: Andrea Izzotti /

New budget plans do not include Plastic Tax

Environment News

Italy is further delaying the introduction of measures aimed at reducing plastic waste. A Plastic Tax has been pushed back for a third time.

For all Draghi’s promises to the young environmental campaigners a few weeks ago, the Italian government has yet again postponed the introduction of a so-called Plastic Tax. The earliest it will come into effect is 2023.

Intended to reduce production and consumption of single-use plastic

Created in 2020, the intention of the tax is to reduce production and consumption of single-use plastics. However, it has faced a series of delays with the government citing economic factors connected to the pandemic.

Scheduled for July 1st this year, having been postponed from January 2021 and July 2020, the government stated yesterday it would be 2023 before it comes into effect.

That places it in the next budget law. Some parties are pushing for it to be scrapped altogether.

Draft budget intended to “sustain the economy”

A government press release said the intention of the draft budget is to “sustain the economy in the exit phase of the pandemic and reinforce the rate of growth in the medium term”.

The plastic tax would have meant those who produce or buy plastic from other European countries, or import single-use plastic items, known as ‘Macsi‘, faced a tax of 45 cents per kilogram of plastic product.

Products containing recycled and biodegradable plastic, and medical containers, however, are exempt from the levy.

Parties including the right-wing League continue to push for the measure to be scrapped altogether. They say it would be unafforable for businesses.

Blow for environmental campaigners

The postponement comes as a blow to environmental campaigners in Italy. The recently implemented EU Directive on single-use plastics appeared to be the decisive lever for the government to take action. However, with the tax’s delay and no indication on how the new Directive will be enforced, Italy could fall foul of the EU.

Italy’s coastline is increasingly threatened with plastic pollution. The rubbish on the beaches is now 400 pieces per 100 metres, according to a recent study. This is one of the highest concentrations in Europe.

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