Plastic bottle waste out of control in London

The London Assembly Environment Committee has reported that the amount of waste from single-use plastic bottles in London has risen out of control.

The report, Bottled Water, finds that people in the Capital consume more plastic bottled water than anywhere else in England, 7.7 billion bottles a year, but only recycles 32 per cent of it consumption. This is behind the national recycling rate of 43 per cent. The Thames21 waterways group recently claimed that plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the Thames, taking 450 years to break down.

In order to tackle this, the committee is urging Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who pledged to be the ‘greenest mayor London has ever had’, to address plastic water bottle waste in his upcoming environment strategy, with calls for him to examine the feasibility of introducing a deposit return scheme and free tap water from community refill facilities as alternatives.

Leonie Cooper, who chairs the committee, said: “Plastic waste is out of control in London. It litters our parks, pollutes the Thames, harms marine life and adds waste to London’s landfill sites, which may be full by 2025. We have to turn the situation around.

“Firstly, Londoners need an alternative to buying bottles of water – this is a crucial part of the solution. Tap water needs to be more readily available. Secondly, we need to improve our recycling of plastic bottles. Currently, far too many end up in landfill or in the natural environment.