Fixing our plastic problem needs more than a bottle return scheme

Howard TerryMar 29, 2018

As part of industry-wide recognition that more needs to be done to reduce levels of plastic pollution, Fuller's Inns has announced that it has registered its 397 pubs with the Refill campaign, a national tap water initiative that aims to make refilling water bottles as convenient as possible by introducing refill stations - becoming the first United Kingdom pubco to do so. "And the evidence shows that reward and return schemes are a powerful agent of change".

The deposit scheme to be introduced in Britain will be opened for consultation to determine how it will work.

Officials say that British consumers use around 13 billion plastic drink bottles every year.

Many other countries deploy similar schemes, including Germany where 99% of plastic bottles are recycled.

NFRN national president Linda Sood welcomed environment secretary Michael Gove's plans to introduce a charge on recyclable bottles and drinks containers, which is returned when the empties are returned to reverse vending machines.

It will include plastic, glass or metal drink containers and is part of the UK Government's efforts to boost recycling rates and slash the amount of waste polluting the land and seas.

"Kingsland are pleased that the Government has chosen to consult on a Deposit Return Scheme", said Andy Horrocks, environment manager at Kingsland Drinks Ltd.

We know that deposit return schemes have hugely successful return rates in countries like Norway, Finland and Australia, so it is welcome news that Conservatives in England will be leading the way to end the scourge of waste in our environment.

"But we also want to ensure that any schemes that are developed work in the best interests of our members".

It is not yet clear how much the deposit will be or when the scheme will begin, but its aim is to help tackle pollution in the ocean. "We look forward to seeing more detail on how the Government proposes to set the scheme up, and how retailers will put this into practice".

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of environmental charity A Plastic Planet, added: "This is a great milestone on the journey to a plastic-free future for food and drink".

The UK has lagged behind the rest of Europe for far too long when it comes recycling, but today marks the beginning of a long road in cutting our plastic usage. A deposit return scheme is not the final solution to the plastic crisis, however.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: "We support a cost-effective deposit return system and are working with a number of partners to explore how this can operate at scale". This means eliminating plastic bottles at the earliest opportunity.

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