Bottle deposit scheme faces being delayed till 2024 because of Covid pandemic… but campaigners brand the move ’embarrassing’
- Scheme aims to stop plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminium cans as litter
- It was announced by former environment secretary Michael Gove in 2017
- UK consumes around 14billion plastic bottles a year with only half recycled
The long-awaited bottle deposit return scheme is to be delayed until 2024 in a move branded ’embarrassing’ by environmental campaigners.
The scheme aims to stop plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminium cans ending up as litter or polluting the ocean.
It was announced by former environment secretary Michael Gove in 2017 with a view to launching it by 2023.
But government sources said it is likely to be delayed for another year – with blame placed on the Covid-19 pandemic.
The scheme aims to stop plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminium cans ending up as litter or polluting the ocean (stock image)
Campaigners suggested last night that lobbying by the drinks industry had led to the hold-up.
The UK consumes around 14billion plastic drinks bottles a year with only around a half getting recycled.
A deposit return scheme – which the Daily Mail has campaigned for – places a small deposit on drinks containers which the customer gets back when the container is returned.
Germany, which has used the scheme since 2003, has plastic recycling rates as high as 97 per cent.
It was announced by former environment secretary Michael Gove in 2017 with a view to launching it by 2023
Sam Chetan-Welsh, of Greenpeace, said: ‘Taking more than seven years to introduce a bottle return scheme… is embarrassing.’
The postponement would mean that the scheme will have taken seven years to be introduced, and will only be brought in after the next parliamentary election scheduled for May 2, 2024.
The plastic, glass and aluminium industry and green campaigners are divided on how the scheme should work.
Groups such as CPRE, the countryside charity, call for an ‘all in’ scheme which will cover all sizes of plastic bottles, but the plastic industry would prefer the scheme only covered bottles drunk by consumer ‘on the go’ – so excluding larger 1 and 2 litre bottles.
Local authorities have voiced concerns that an ‘all in’ scheme would be in danger of competing with local authority kerbside collections.
But campaigners say that a deposit return scheme would greatly improve the quality of material collected.