Paul L. Caron

Friday, December 9, 2022

Mann: Targeting Plastic Pollution With Taxes

Roberta F. Mann (Oregon), Targeting Plastic Pollution with Taxes, 37 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. __ (2022):

Plastic pollution is a matter of increasing global concern. Unmanaged plastic waste is a particularly large and growing problem in the world’s oceans. Assuming a constant level of fish stocks, the weight of plastic pollution in the ocean in 2050 is projected to exceed the weight of the fish. The concern reaches all levels of government from the local to the national. Solutions include plastic bag bans, taxes or fees on single-use plastics, incentives for reusable bags, and incentives for recycling. Recycling has become a particular issue since early 2018, when China announced it would stop accepting imported plastic waste. 

Plastics pollution creates significant environmental externalities, such as harm to natural systems, greenhouse gas emissions from production and after-use incineration, and human health impacts from endocrine disrupters released when plastics degrade. Environmental taxation should be an efficient solution to the plastics pollution problem, if properly designed. Research shows that taxation could be more effective than other measures such as incentives. This Article will assess the various solutions proposed and used worldwide.

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