Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced his plans to begin the consultation on the implementation of a new deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles in England. A move that is warmly welcomed by environmentalists.
Since the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic bags in October 2015, usage has dropped by over 80 percent in England, which means that more than nine billion fewer plastic bags have been used.
Successful deposit return schemes have already been introduced in several European countries including Denmark, where 90% of bottles are returned for recycling. Compared with England where only 57% of plastic bottles sold last year were collected for recycling.
Mr Gove made the announcement at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester this week, saying: "We must protect our oceans and marine life from plastic waste if we are to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
"That means tackling the rise in plastic bottles entering our waters by making it simpler and easier to recycle and dispose of them appropriately."
More than 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris, and it is estimated there are 100 million tonnes of plastic in oceans around the world.
Scotland and Wales are also looking to implement DRS, with Wales suggesting it could announce new legislation as early as next year.