Government set to announce major recycling shake-up
Environment Secretary Michael Gove is to publish details of the government’s big shake-up of recycling next week, Sky News understands.
The announcement will include further information about how a proposed deposit return scheme for plastic bottles could work.
The scheme is one of several ways the government aims to cut waste and boost recycling rates.
The return scheme is also set to cover glass containers and cans and would involve shoppers paying a small deposit which would be paid back when empties are returned to one of the allocated “reverse vending machines”.
The consultation document will put forward two options for how the scheme might work.
The first would cover the vast majority of drinks containers sold in the UK, regardless of their size.
A second option known as “on-the-go” would only cover bottles smaller than 750ml and is thus more limited in scope.
If the scheme is supported and gets funding from the Treasury, it would come into force in 2023.
Recycling rates in England have stagnated in the last five years and are below the UK’s target rate to recycle half of its waste by 2020.
It is estimated that UK consumers go through 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment.
Similar schemes already operate in countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany where deposits range from 8p in Sweden to 22p in Germany.
Once a bottle is returned, businesses are then responsible for making sure they are effectively recycled – a move that has led to a 97% recycling rate in Germany.
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