A huge step forward in the battle against plastic pollution!
Earlier this week the government committed to introducing a comprehensive deposit return scheme on drinks containers in England. It’s a huge victory in the bid to end plastic pollution, reduce littering and create a more sustainable, circular economy in which waste is kept to an absolute minimum.
The scheme will give members of the public a small financial reward for recycling and this momentous step forward comes in the wake of concerted campaigning spearheaded by the good people at Surfers Against Sewage that’s been happening everywhere from our beaches to the Houses of Parliament.
It is hoped that this return scheme will end the environmental scourge of plastic bottles, one of the flagship plastic causes of plastic pollution on our rivers, streets, countryside and coastline.
Similar schemes are already in operation around Europe and have been wildly successful. Germany implemented a DRS (deposit return scheme) in 2003 and now 99% of their plastic bottles are recycled which is massive when you consider that only 43% of the plastic bottles sold in the UK are recycled and 700,000 are littered everyday.
This DRS system could have a huge impact. The decision to stop giving away disposable plastic bags has lessened their use in UK supermarkets by 83% since the rule was implemented and 9 billion plastic bags have been taken out of circulation as result!
Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, had this to say: “Surfers Against Sewage is thrilled with the government announcement committing the country to a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles, drinks containers and cans. This huge victory for our oceans will stop millions of plastic bottles escaping into the environment annually, and stem the tidal wave of plastics swamping our coastlines. It’s a testament to the power of the grassroots campaigners who united to call on the government to stop throwaway plastics at source. We’d like to thank all the signatories of our petition, volunteers and ocean advocates for creating the change our oceans need. This is another big step towards Plastic Free Coastlines.”
Public support has been huge for this and it’s because of people getting behind beach cleans and signing petitions that the government has taken notice. 329,000 people signed the SAS x 38 Degrees Message In A Bottle petition, the UK’s biggest petition to bring back bottle deposits, and over 150,000 supporters took part in the government’s consultation into the scheme!
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, got behind the scheme and is a big supporter. In this interview with Sky News he explains how the DRS might work.