Environment Secretary urges interested parties to come forward with proposals for making bottle deposit schemes work in England following success overseas
The government has today reiterated its call for interested parties to come forward with proposals for how bottle deposit schemes could help boost recycling rates across the UK.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced Defra would extend by three weeks a call for evidence exercise, giving organisations until 20 November to submit proposals and comments.
The move comes after the government signalled it was seriously considering introducing a deposit scheme in an attempt to boost stalled recycling rates and tackle the 80 per cent if marine plastic pollution that is estimated to be caused by people discarding waste on land.
Currently, only 57 per cent of plastic bottles sold in the UK are recycled, compared to 90 per cent in Denmark and almost 80 per cent in South Australia where bottle deposit return schemes have been introduced.
The call for evidence invites interested parties to share their views with the government on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of reward and return schemes for plastic, metal and glass drinks containers.
Bottle deposit schemes have previously been broadly opposed by drinks companies, but there has been signs of a shift in attitudes in recent years, with Coca-Cola declaring it would trial a scheme in Scotland.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said there was a compelling environmental case for looking at new approaches for tackling litter.
“We must protect our oceans and marine life from plastic waste if we are to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it,” he said. “That means tackling the rise in plastic bottles entering our waters by making it simpler and easier to recycle and dispose of them appropriately.”
He added that bottle deposit schemes had “already seen great success in other countries such as Denmark in curbing plastic pollution and we want to hear people’s ideas on how we could make it work in England”.
The submitted evidence will be considered by the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group, which was set up as part of the government’s litter strategy and brings together officials and executives from the likes of Coca Cola and Tesco. The government said the group would report on its findings early next year.
The news comes in the same week as Gove officially launched the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures, which will be tasked with exploring ways to tackle challenges facing the UK’s seafood industry, marine wildlife and under-sea environment.
It also came as Defra beefed up its Litter Strategy by confirming on-the-spot fines for people who are caught littering will be almost doubled to a maximum penalty of £150.