The Netherlands is to launch carbon-based packaging tax, the first of its kind in Europe. The tax will be based on the estimated CO2 emissions produced in making particular packaging.

The government announced that the introduction of the new tax will be in January in its 2008 ’Tax Plan: Focus on greening and labour participation’. This is based on an agreement between the country’s environment ministry, local authorities and industry.

The money from the tax will form a new fund, called the ’waste fund’ (Afvalfonds), which is designed to help reduce waste in the country. The national government will also contribute E115m (£80m) annually to the fund, as well as a tax on household waste.

This follows carbon footprint labelling in the UK, which already appears on products such as Walkers crisps and Boots’ products.

The Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment said in a statement that much more plastic packaging will also be recycled. This will raise the recycling percentage target for plastic packaging from its present level of 20% to 42% in 2012. The result is an annual saving of approximately 210 kilotons of CO2, equivalent to the electricity use of around 100,000 households.

A survey conducted earlier this year by the Dutch Institute for Public Opinion and Market Research (TNS/NIPO), by order of the Dutch government, revealed that 91% of citizens were prepared to participate in the separated collection of plastic packaging, in addition to paper and glass.