The UK Government has confirmed plans to launch a bottle and can deposit-return scheme in a bid to increase recycling rates and reduce pollution from plastics.
Each year, UK consumers use approximately 13 billion plastic drinks bottle, with more than three billion of these burnt, sent to landfill or thrown away to pollute the land and marine environment.
Subject to consultation, the new scheme is expected to cut plastic waste that pollutes both land and sea by returning a small cash sum to the people who return their bottles and cans.
Taking into account views from producers, supplier,s and consumers, the consultation will evaluate the details to find out how the scheme would work, in addition to other measures that would help increase recycling rates.
Consumers across the country will be encouraged to return the single-use containers, whether made of plastic, glass or metal.
Similar deposit return schemes already operate in countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.
Under the scheme, consumers pay a small up-front deposit when they buy a drink, which can be redeemed on returning the empty drink container.
In addition, different places install ‘reverse vending machines’ where the used plastic or glass bottle or can is inserted and the money is returned by the machine.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment, killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats.
“It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.
“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.”
In addition, bottle or can manufacturers will be incentivised to support increased recycling of their packaging products.