Deposit scheme could drastically reduce plastic waste

An analysis of the government’s proposed waste strategy has resulted in calls for a comprehensive deposit return scheme in England to be implemented to prevent 6,600 tonnes of plastic waste entering rivers and the sea by 2030.

The assessment by the charity Common Seas says that, of all the different measures being considered by the government to tackle plastic pollution, a deposit return scheme on all drinks containers, not just small bottles, would have the most dramatic impact.

The report maps plastic waste flows and leakage, assesses the effectiveness of policy interventions and allows governments to see which methods work best to reduce plastic pollution. It emphasises that the government should ensure that any deposit return scheme applies to all drinks containers, not just ‘on the go’ bottles containing less than 750ml.

At present, the government’s proposed waste strategy fails to address major sources of plastic pollution into the seas, from tyre dust, plastic pellets from manufacturing and microfibres from clothes and wet wipes.

Jo Royle, from Common Seas, said: “We must make sure our energy is focused on the most impactful interventions. We don’t have time to be ineffective – the crisis we’re facing gets worse every day. Our initiative … tackles this problem by helping the right people make better decisions about which policies to implement for maximum impact.”