THE Government has announced plans for England to bring in a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, to help tackle problems with litter and ocean pollution.
The system would mean that drinks will cost more, but you will be able to get a deposit of 10-20p back for each plastic or glass bottle and metal can that you return.
It’s likely that ‘reverse vending machines’ will be set up in places like supermarkets, where people can take all of their used containers and get some cash back.
A similar system has helped Germany to increase packaging recycling rates to 97%. At the moment, the UK uses around 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than five billion aren’t recycled.
The Government’s 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.” He hopes to work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure that everyone uses the same system.
The Marine Conservation Society says that plastic and glass bottles, lids and other plastic food and drink items make up 20% of the rubbish that they find on beach cleans.
Before the scheme starts, the Government will talk to industry, shops and consumers to work out the best way forward. At the same time, the Government says that they will reform other aspects of packaging, to force producers to think about the environment more.
Keep Britain Tidy said that a study of litter by roadsides found that cans and glass bottles could be killing millions of shrews and voles. The animals make their homes in the containers but often can’t get out because they’re too slippy.