U.K. Government Announces Drink Container Deposit Return Scheme to Reduce Litter

“It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. “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.”

People in England will soon have to pay a deposit when they buy plastic, glass, or metal drink containers as part of an effort to reduce litter pollution. The deposit will increase drink prices, but the small cash sum will be returned to consumers when they return the container. Fees will vary depending on the size of the bottle.

The government announcement comes in the wake of a new focus on the threat of ocean pollution and the effects of plastic on wildlife. Consumers in the UK use about 13 billion plastic drink bottles annually, with just 43 percent of the bottles recycled, according to The Guardian.

“It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. “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.”

About 40 countries worldwide and 21 U.S. states have some kind of deposit return plan in place for plastic bottles. Most involve returning bottles to an automated collection point or to the shop where they were purchased.

"We need to see a change in attitudes and behaviour. And the evidence shows that reward and return schemes are a powerful agent of change,” Gove said.

Supermarkets are a major source of plastic pollution in the U.K., with The Guardian reporting that the major chains create almost 1 million tons of plastic packaging waste annually. 

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar