UK needs plastic bottle deposit return scheme

The Environmental Audit Committee has urged for the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and for producers to be financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce.

The UK's rate of recycling for plastic bottles, of which we use 7.7 billion each year, has stalled for the past five years, while recent TV documentaries, such as Blue Planet, have highlighted how up to 12 million tonnes of plastic are being thrown in our oceans each year.

The committee is therefore urging the government to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles, with the aim of boosting the recycling rate to 90 per cent.

Furthermore, the committee has recommended that the government introduce a requirement for all public premises that serve food and drink to provide free drinking water, as well as a boost to the number of public water fountains.

Mary Creagh, chair of the committee, said: “Urgent action is needed to protect our environment from the devastating effects of marine plastic pollution which, if it continues to rise at current rates, will outweigh fish by 2050. Our throwaway society uses 13 billion plastic bottles each year, around half of which are not recycled. Plastic bottles make up a third of all plastic pollution in the sea, and are a growing litter problem on UK beaches. We need action at individual, council, regional and national levels to turn back the plastic tide.”