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Lib Dems urge Government to set up a bottle return scheme

January 14, 2019 7:56 AM

Gloucester's Liberal Democrat councillors are calling on the Government to set up a nationwide single-use bottle return scheme.

The UK currently recycles just 57% of the millions of plastic, glass and metal bottles sold each day with the rest ending up in landfill or as litter, polluting beaches and green areas.

The motion, which will be debated by councillors on January 24, calls on Gloucester City Council to write to Environment Secretary Michael Gove urging him to set up a scheme.

Supermarket giants Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland and the Co-op are already trialling a deposit return scheme in some of their stores.

Countries such as Germany, Sweden and Belgium already have successful schemes which reward shoppers who return bottles with cash.

Councillor Isabel Brazil, who is proposing the motion, said: "Unless we take action, plastic waste will continue to pollute our oceans with devastating effect.

"The plastic bag charge has reduced usage by 85% in the first year and there are now calls for a 'latte levy' on disposable coffee cups.

"But we need to go further. We need to tackle our throw-away culture by providing incentives to reduce, reuse and recycle.

"Ultimately, the campaign to save our oceans starts at home.

"Each of us can make simple changes to move towards plastic-free living, from carrying a refillable bottle, to saying 'no' to plastic straws."

Councillor Emily Ryall, who is seconding the motion, added: "Tackling plastic pollution will require us to work closely with local businesses to find non-plastic alternatives, it will take research and investment, but most of all it will take a willingness to change.

"Similar initiatives have been tried and tested across the world, so what is the Government waiting for?

"A plastic and glass bottle deposit scheme is crucial if we are to tackle Britain's plastic litter crisis as waste from plastic bottles is spiralling out of control.

"It would build on the huge success of the 5p plastic bag charge, first advocated by the Liberal Democrats, and introduced by the Liberal Democrats while members of the Coalition Government."

The motion says: "This council notes that on 28th March 2018, the Government announced its intention to consider introducing a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers, whether plastic, glass or metal.

This council agrees that a deposit return scheme would help increase the amount of single use drinks cans and bottles that are recycled rather than left to litter our streets, being sent to landfill or to incineration.

This council notes that supermarket chains (Iceland, Co-op, Morrisons and Tesco) have been trialing a deposit return scheme.

This council agrees that the three group leaders should write to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove to encourage him to introduce such a scheme and also to the MP for Gloucester to let him know that this council supports the introduction of a nationwide single use drinks container deposit return scheme."