CPRE’s campaign for deposits to be introduced on plastic bottles has won a huge boost with the news that environment secretary Michael Gove is backing the idea.
Mr Gove said yesterday that schemes put in place abroad had been a “great success” in tackling pollution. He now wants to see evidence that a similar ‘reward and return’ system could work in England.
Britain’s record on recycling of plastic bottles compares unfavourably with that of other European countries: just 57 per cent of plastic bottles sold last year in this country were recycled, compared with 90 per cent in Denmark and Germany, both of which have deposit schemes.
Speaking to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Gove referred to the fact that bottles comprised a significant proportion of the eight million tonnes of plastic waste entering our oceans each year.
He said action was needed to protect marine life from such waste: “That means tackling the rise in
plastic bottles entering our waters by making it simpler and easier to recycle and dispose of them appropriately.”
The environment secretary’s apparent support follows an announcement that the Scottish government will be introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Responding to that news, Samantha Harding, CPRE’s litter programme director, had said: “Michael Gove has said that he wants to introduce a scheme as quickly as possible, and Scottish ministers have now laid down a marker.
“We just need to make sure that an English scheme is the same as or compatible with the one in Scotland. A drinks container bought in St Ives should be able to be returned in St Andrews.”