The government of the United Kingdom has confirmed it will introduce a deposit-return plan in the U.K. for single-use beverage containers – plastic, glass or metal – later in 2018. The plan is subject to consultation, which will look at the details of how the scheme would work, along with other measures to increase recycling rates in the country.
In announcing the plan, the U.K. government points out that similar plans are already in operation in Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
In a statement announcing the decision, Michal Gove, the U.K.’s Environment Secretary, says, “We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats. It is vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.”
The U.K. government estimates that some 13 billion plastic beverage bottles are used each year in the U.K., and some 3 billion of those are either landfilled or incinerated.
“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.”
The scheme is being developed by the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The consultation will consider views from producers, suppliers and consumers to ensure that any system introduced works across the country, according to DEFRA. It will be designed to work in tandem with wider reforms to the current packaging waste system and will aim to “incentivize producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products and to increase the amount of packaging they recycle,” according to the U.K. government.