Brighton MP pushes government on drinks deposit return scheme

CAROLINE LUCAS is calling on the government for clarity on its drinks deposit return scheme to tackle the UK’s waste crisis.

The scheme, set to be introduced across England in 2024, will see consumers pay a deposit on a drinks container upon purchase, which is refunded once returned.

However, the Brighton Pavilion MP has warned urgent details on the scheme are needed, along with a timeline for its implementation, as information about the details of the initiative remains vague.

She has called on the government to learn from similar schemes in Scandinavia, many of which implement a variable fee model and boast recycling rates upwards of 92 per cent.

Such a model sees consumers pay a deposit that varies based on the size and material of the container, which Ms Lucas said will incentivise consumers to avoid purchasing large polluting items which plague British beaches.

However, despite having held a second public consultation on the scheme’s introduction in March last year, the government is yet to publish a formal response laying out the design and timeline for the scheme.

Ms Lucas said: “A deposit return scheme can be a powerful tool in helping to end the scourge of plastic pollution, but after years of warm words and consultations, the government is now curiously tight-lipped.

“We need to see far more detail from ministers on the introduction of a drinks recycling scheme and how it will be implemented, so industry, local authorities and consumers are prepared once it comes into effect.”

Such an initiative is estimated to improve recycling rates for bottles and cans from between 70 and 75 per cent to as high as 90 per cent, but Ms Lucas warned this will only happen if the scheme is as comprehensive as possible.

Some eight million drinks containers are thrown away across the UK each year, with materials made from glass, PET plastic and metal cans sent to landfill, incineration or littering natural habitats across the country.

Last summer, council leaders removed 31 tonnes of rubbish from Brighton beach over one weekend alone after people flocked to the seafront in droves.

The Argus | Brighton and Hove news