Tackle UK’s plastic bottle problem with money-back scheme
5th July 2017 | Recycling
The UK government is under growing pressure to introduce a money-back return scheme for plastic bottles, in order to tackle huge volumes of waste in a country where 400 bottles are sold every second.
Opposition parties have called ministers to introduce a deposit return scheme that experts say would drastically reduce the number of plastic bottles littering streets and seas around the UK.
Similar schemes have been successfully introduced in at least a dozen countries.
The idea has the backing of global drinks company Coca-Cola and comes amid warnings that the worldwide plastics binge poses as serious a threat as climate change.
Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, urged the government to take swift action. “A deposit return scheme would have widespread public support and would go a long way to ensuring that we recycle as much of our waste as possible,” she said.
Kate Parminter, environment spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said momentum was growing behind calls for a deposit return scheme. “Earlier this year, Coca-Cola said to the Scottish parliament they would back a well-designed return scheme,” she said. “Now that industry are backing this scheme, it is high time the UK government began to throw their weight behind it.”
Last week, new figures obtained by the Guardian established that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021.
According to an unpublished parliamentary report, more than 4m plastic bottles a week could be prevented from littering streets and marine environments in Britain if authorities adopted the kind of deposit return schemes that operate in countries like Germany and Australia.
The Conservative party’s manifesto did not mention such a scheme in the run-up to last month’s general election, but a spokesman for Defra said the idea was being considered as part of a wider litter strategy launched in April.
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