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Government announce deposit scheme for plastic bottles

The Government have announced the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers (glass, metal or plastic) in England. The scheme will aim to reduce the amount of waste on land and in oceans.

Similar schemes all already in operation across Europe, in countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany. The scheme requires consumers to purchase drinks in disposable containers at an increased price – which makes up the deposit. They can then redeem this cost when they return the empty container to a deposit point, which works like a ‘reverse vending machine’. The scheme has already led to a 97% recycling rate in Germany.

It is estimated that the UK uses 13 billion plastic drinks bottles annually, and those that are not recycled pollute seas and country sides and damage wildlife habitats. There are currently over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans and a recent report announced that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an artificial island of plastics twice the size of France – is thought to contain up to 16 times more plastic particles than previously estimated.

Environmental Secretary Michael Gove explained: “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 absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled. 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 will be introduced subject to consultation later this year. The consultation will look at how the scheme will work and how other measures can be introduced to increase recycling waste. The cost of the deposit is not yet known, but European equivalent schemes range from an 8p deposit in Sweden and a 22p deposit in Germany.

The Government have explained that the consultation will take into account the views of producers, suppliers and consumers in order to identify methods to best improve recycling rates in England.

What’s your opinion?

Remember, NCASS works to give caterers a voice in the industry - let us know how you feel about the scheme by Tweeting @NCASS_UK

You can also email with the subject line ‘Plastic waste’.

Look out for our next article on plastic waste and the latte levy coming soon.

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