West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has welcomed the Government announcement of a plastic bottle deposit return scheme to increase recycling rates and slash the amount of waste polluting our land and seas.
The scheme, which is subject to a consultation later in the year, is expected to cover single-use glass and plastic bottles, and steel and aluminium cans; costs in similar schemes elsewhere on the continent range from 22p in Germany and 8p in Sweden.
UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute streets, countryside and marine environment.
Variants of a deposit return scheme include offering cash rewards for returning drinks containers without an upfront deposit; this is often done through a network of ‘reverse vending machines’, where you insert your plastic or glass bottle or can and the machine returns your money.
The announcement is the latest move in the Government crackdown on plastic, following the plastic microbead ban and the 5p plastic bag charge – which has led to 9 billion fewer bags distributed.
“There is no doubt that the government is serious about tackling the scourge of plastic pollution which has done so much damage to our marine environment and I’d like to think that here in West Cornwall we are ahead of the game,” said Mr Thomas.
“Surfers Against Sewage have done a great job in launching the Plastic Free Communities campaign and I’m proud that last year Penzance was named as the first plastic-free community in the UK.
“It’s also very clear, when I visit schools in the constituency and from the amount of post that I receive on the subject, that our children are enormously concerned about the issue which is hugely encouraging as they will be the next generation with the responsibility of safeguarding the environment.”