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The government has announced deposit return scheme to go ahead

3rd April 2018

The government has announced it will be launching a bottle deposit return scheme in a bid to tackle plastic waste. The forthcoming scheme will require small, monetary deposits for all drinks containers, whether plastic, glass or metal, which will be returned once the container is returned to a deposit point. This scheme aims to cut down littering in England and encourage people to take an active role in recycling.

It is estimated at present just 43% of the 13bn plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled, but in Germany where a deposit return scheme was introduced in 2003 99% of plastic bottles are recycled.

This scheme comes after the 5p plastic carrier bag charge was introduced which has since seen an 85% fall in the use of single-use plastic bags in England and the ban on microbeads in personal hygiene products.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England

The Campaign to Protect Rural England has been campaigning for the reduction of littered bottles and cans around the UK for 10 years and was naturally pointed towards the deposit return scheme (DRS.)

On its website, the organisation explains how the scheme works: “The scheme is simple: when you buy a drink, you pay a small deposit (10-20p) and then when you return the container to one of the hundreds of return points, you get your deposit back. Many other countries and provinces around the world have found a deposit return system to be the best way to capture drinks containers, and you may recall a similar initiative for glass bottles in England some years back.”

This also lends itself to the ‘polluter pays’ system, where if someone does not return their container and litters it instead, the money they would have gotten will stay within the system and help fund it.

Now the DRS has started to be implemented, those interested in environmental law and those seeking legal jobs will be waiting to see what other environmental legislation will be being introduced in the future.