United Kingdom to tax plastic bottles to tackle pollution


The process could be as simple as placing the plastic or glass bottle into a vending machine, which will then return the original money spent.

"In a wider sense, recycling plastic bottles and cans via a deposit scheme will considerably reduce the household kerbside recycling collection demands on local authorities and we urge the Government to put those savings back into sustainability initiatives in local communities".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said there was no doubt that plastic was "wreaking havoc" on the marine environment and discarded plastic bottles and cans "end up dumped on pavements and lobbed into rivers, lakes and the sea".

"It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled", he added.

"Both the public and businesses are in favour of a strong deposit return scheme, which is a tried and tested way to increase recycling rates", she said.

Similar schemes in other countries have increased recycling by 90%.

The scheme, it said, should ideally only target PET bottles and aluminum cans smaller than 0.7 liters.

It's been estimated that Brits use 13 million plastic bottles a year, and only 3 billion of these make it to recycling plants.

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In response to the announcement, leading waste management company Suez UK published the results of a national poll conducted by YouGov which suggested most of British consumers would respond positively to the scheme. In Norway, 95 per cent of plastic bottles are recycled and its scheme has been around since 1999.

Well, now they're doing it - and it's a move that has been welcomed by consumers and campaigners alike.

The issue has been highlighted in many ways recently, for example Blue Planet II showed wildlife eating plastic, and concerns have been raised about the impact of this on the environment. The emphasis should be on funding alternative, more-easily recycled containers, say environmentalists. "It must include all plastic bottles, glass bottles and drinks cans, and be rolled out in shops all across the United Kingdom".

The measure follows the 2015 introduction of a 5 pence charge for carrier bags in most shops, which the government has said cut the number of plastic bags by 9 billion.

The bag fee has led to nine billion fewer bags being distributed in the UK.

By 2050, it is predicted that the total amount of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than the total amount of fish.

Discarded food and drink containers make up a fifth of rubbish on beaches, with 150 million tonnes of plastic now polluting the world's oceans.