Companies making up excuses to dodge plastic bottle recycling scheme, says marine charity

19th April 2019 | Recycling

The head of a leading marine charity has written to bosses of 10 UK supermarkets urging them not to derail an “all-in” deposit return scheme for bottle and cans. Marine Conservation Society (MCS) chief executive Sandy Luk warned the retail chiefs that some companies and manufacturers seem keen to thwart the introduction of a comprehensive scheme.

She wrote, “It is highly regrettable that some elements in UK industry, with vested interests, seem intent on making up as many excuses as possible to resist a scheme which will remove a recycle the largest number of containers. Lobbying behind the scenes must not be allowed to derail the most ambitious and comprehensive scheme from being introduced.”

Plastic bottle recycling scheme

The MCS said retailers must back the introduction of a money-back recycling system for consumers which includes all sizes and materials of containers, that is run as a not-for-profit system and is consistent across the UK. It warned that anything less would fail to result in less litter and plastic poisoning marine wildlife and polluting waterways.

Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, who backed the scheme on Thursday, said, “Gone are the days when we can ignore the fact that we are having a pretty devastating impact on our planet. We can’t complain about rubbish, or those awful images of dying humpback whales with plastic in the stomachs and do nothing. It’s one thing to not know and not do something about it. But to know what you are doing and not do something about it is criminal.”

She added, “I believe consumers will look into it because you only have to do things a few times before it becomes a habit and way of life.”

The government is consulting over an “all-in” scheme or an alternative “on-the-go” option, which would be restricted to containers less than 750ml in size. Under a deposit return scheme, a sum will be added to the price of drinks at purchase and refunded when consumers return their empty containers.

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