The plastic bottle deposit scheme will finally be revealed…but it won’t include glass

The plastic bottle deposit scheme will finally be revealed…but it won’t include glass

  • The scheme would see a small fee – perhaps 20p – levied on plastic bottles and cans.
  • Under the scheme, this fee will be refunded upon return of the empty
  • Supermarkets and department stores are likely to install reverse vending machines

Ministers will finally announce the plastic bottle and can deposit scheme today in a breakthrough against litter, pollution and waste.

The scheme will see a small fee – perhaps 20p – on plastic bottles and cans, which will be reclaimed when empty containers are returned.

Supermarkets and other stores will likely install so-called reverse vending machines to allow shoppers to post in their spaces in exchange for coupons.

Green activists have welcomed the move, first proposed by David Cameron 13 years ago and then again by Michael Gove in 2017.

Ministers will finally announce the plastic bottle and can deposit scheme today in a breakthrough against litter, pollution and waste

However, the scheme in England would not include bottles in a move that threatened to undermine its financial viability. It will also mean that it will not match those that will go live in Scotland and Wales.

Campaigners say this will add cost and complexity for retailers, such as national supermarket chains, who will have to operate different schemes.

There is also a risk that some manufacturers and supermarkets will switch their drinks from plastic bottles and cans to glass to avoid adding deposit and return fees.

The scheme would see a small fee - perhaps 20p - charged on plastic bottles and cans, which would be reclaimed when empty containers were returned.

The scheme would see a small fee – perhaps 20p – charged on plastic bottles and cans, which would be reclaimed when empty containers were returned.

‘We’re intent on discouraging consumer recycling of what can be completely recyclable containers like bottles,’ said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet.

“A comprehensive deposit return scheme across all four countries of the UK is the only way to radically reduce our dependence on natural resources.”

Surfers Against Sanitation, which has campaigned for a deposit scheme to tackle plastic pollution, said: ‘While we should celebrate action being taken against the scourge of plastic pollution, this much-overdue announcement of the scheme feels like a huge missed opportunity.

The government reneged on its commitment in a 2019 statement to include glass, one of the most environmentally damaging materials.

The deposit system is not expected to be introduced in England until next year.

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