Environment Secretary Michael Gove must not capitulate to pressure from industry and manufacturers by introducing a weak Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans, MCS warned today.
The UK Government must not buckle under the pressure coming from manufacturers and industry who want to see a system that will only include a small proportion of the bottles and cans that end up in our seas – a system that will confuse consumers and fail our oceans.
Dr Sue Kinsey,
MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer
There are just two options on the table in the public consultation, launched today – one which would include just small bottles and cans generally bought by consumers on the move. The alternative, the only credible option according to MCS, is a comprehensive system that accepts all sizes and materials of drinks bottles and cans.
Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Pollution Policy Officer, says an all-inclusive system is already successfully operating in over 40 other countries globally: ‘We want to see a comprehensive system which will accept drinks cans and bottles of all sizes and materials, and is harmonised for consumers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“In countries where this type of DRS is already in place recycling rates of up to 97% have been achieved. The UK Government must not buckle under the pressure coming from manufacturers and industry who want to see a system that will only include a small proportion of the bottles and cans that end up in our seas – a system that will confuse consumers and fail our oceans. There’s currently very little responsibility on producers to recover any packaging they put on the market – they’re responsible for only about 10% of the cost whilst the public shoulder 90%.
“An all-inclusive DRS would change this whilst the limited system that manufacturers want would decrease the efficiency and cost effectiveness and have very little impact on reducing littering or increasing high quality recycling.”
Kinsey also pointed out: “During our 2018 Great British Beach Clean and survey, volunteers collected almost 21,000 items of drinks related litter, that’s 42 items for every 100m of beach cleaned and surveyed. This type of litter is a massive problem for our coastline and with the introduction of a comprehensive DRS the Government would finally be seen to be taking some responsibility for the health of UK seas. A weak system will do nothing to help our oceans or wildlife.”
Today MCS has joined several other environmental NGOs in strongly criticising BP which last week said that plastics do less harm environmentally than alternatives. Along with CPRE, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace we believe this is yet another shameful attempt by a company with vested interests – generating millions of pounds in profit from our addiction to single-use plastics – to muddy the waters.
We’ll be seeking your help soon to put pressure on ministers and retailers to back an inclusive scheme, watch this space for information on our upcoming DRS campaign.