Consumers demand 20p plastic bottle deposit scheme

Eight in ten Britons back a deposit and refund scheme for plastic bottles and drinks cans, according to a survey.

The support comes from across the political spectrum with a majority from all party allegiances in favour.

With public concern growing over litter and pollution, the survey found that 78 per cent of adults believe that current waste collection and recycling schemes are not doing enough to stop littering. And 80 per cent say the current system is not doing enough to tackle ocean pollution.

Most consumers believe a deposit scheme for plastic bottles would help reduce pollution

Every day some 35 million plastic bottles and 20 million cans are sold across Britain

Every day some 35 million plastic bottles and 20 million cans are sold across Britain

The YouGov survey, commissioned by the campaigning group 38 Degrees, found that 78 per cent of Britons from all walks of life support the introduction of a bottle and can deposit and refund scheme. Only eight per cent were opposed.

Waste and recycling experts suggest the fee should be set at 15p in order to have an effect. Some 70 per cent of participants in the survey favoured 10p or less and around one in four said it should be at least 20p.

The Daily Mail’s Take Back Your Bottles campaign has highlighted the problems of plastic pollution.

Every day an estimated 35million plastic bottles and 20million aluminium cans are sold across the UK. Currently, less than 60 per cent of the bottles are collected for recycling. The rest go into landfill, are burned for energy, or end up as litter.

Evidence from other countries shows that the introduction of a deposit on plastic bottles and aluminium cans can raise collection rates above 90 per cent.

The plastic that ends up on beaches and in the sea breaks down into smaller pieces that are eaten by birds, fish and shellfish, and eventually end up – via the food chain – on family dinner plates. Only yesterday, data published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs revealed that there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of litter found on the seabed around Britain.

An average of 358 litter items were found per square kilometre of seabed in 2016, a 158 per cent rise on the previous year, and 222 per cent higher than in 1992-94. Almost 78 per cent of the litter was plastic, 6.3 per cent rubber and 2.7 per cent metal.

Scotland and Wales are investigating introducing a deposit and refund scheme and Environment Secretary Michael Gove has signalled his support.

But some in the plastics industry and the British Retail Consortium, which speaks for supermarkets, are trying to kill the plan.

Holly Maltby, a campaigner at 38 Degrees, said: ‘The huge support from the public for the scheme should be taken seriously by the Government to make sure plastic pollution is a thing of the past.’