Britons to get cash to return plastic bottles

The government has given the go-ahead to the deposit return scheme to tackle plastic waste

The government has today announced the launch of a long-awaited deposit return scheme for plastic bottles in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The introduction of the deposit scheme will not happen until 2025, following extensive work on necessary changes, including setting up infrastructure and amending labelling.

Ministers confirmed that the scheme would include special machines, known as reverse vending machines, and designated sites where people can return their bottles and receive their cash back.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We want to support people who want to do the right thing to help stop damaging plastics polluting our green spaces or floating in our oceans and rivers.

“This will provide a simple and effective system across the country that helps people reduce litter and recycle more easily, even when on the move.”

However, MPs and campaigners have called for an all-in deposit return scheme across all four nations of the UK.

In response to the news, Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne, said: “I welcome this announcement that a deposit return scheme will be implemented in England, though it is disappointing to learn that the scheme will not come in until 2025, given the length of time the government has spent pondering the issue.

“I trust the government will use the time before implementation to establish a robust and workable scheme. In the UK, we discard eight billion drinks containers a year and recycling rates have plateaued.”

Megan Randles, Political Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Five years ago, Greenpeace was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with campaigning groups across the country calling for a deposit return scheme.

“Five years of wasted action on plastic waste. Five years of dithering and pollution. Five years of lobbying and watering down. This could have been a moment for celebration and of course for our environment it’s better to have this proposed system rather than nothing.

“But even at the final hurdle, this government bottled it and excluded glass from the scheme.”

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