Thank you for contacting me about a bottle deposit return system.
We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment and degrading our most precious habitats. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.
I am pleased that Ministers remain committed to developing a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass. These schemes see consumers pay an up-front deposit that is redeemed on return of the empty drink container. A second consultation has now been carried out which builds on the first and offered a chance to explore further what the continued appetite is for a deposit return scheme in a ‘post-Covid’ context. This second consultation will also inform how a future scheme can be designed in the best and most coherent way possible to deliver on the objectives set out for introducing such a policy.
I understand that timelines have been reviewed to ensure sufficient time is allowed for the roll out of a complex policy, and Ministers therefore propose to implement the scheme in 2024. No delay to a recycling measure is welcome, but I have been advised that this new date will allow the scheme to be properly implemented.
The Government has already taken strong action to reduce plastic waste; 15.6 billion fewer bags have been handed out to shoppers by the seven main retailers since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in 2015 and the ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetic products has been welcomed as one of the toughest in the world. It is now time to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.