Take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans

18th April 2018

We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment, killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats.

The amount of plastic waste polluting our land and seas remains a great source of frustration for residents all over Torridge & West Devon.

Locally, we have seen an extraordinary effort to reduce plastic waste driven by environmentally conscious residents, retailors and activists, most notably, Cornwall’s own Surfers against Sewage.

I am pleased that the Government has already taken action to reduce plastic waste; the 5p carrier bag charge has led to 9 billion fewer carrier bags in circulation, a drop of 83 per cent, and the planned ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetic products has been welcomed as one of the world's toughest.

It is now absolutely vital that we take steps to tackle the waste from the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.

UK consumers go through an estimated 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.  

Following a call for evidence the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has announced that his Department is developing plans for a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers (whether plastic, glass or metal). These schemes see consumers pay an up-front deposit that is redeemed on return of the empty drink container. Possible variants include cash rewards for returning drinks containers without an upfront deposit.
A consultation will look at the details of how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to incentivise producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products and to increase the amount of packaging they recycle.

This latest measure to curb plastic waste is more good news for our environment and demonstrates the Government’s determination to tackle the scourge of plastic. But we must all ensure that we do our small part so that we leave our planet in a better state for the next generation with cleaner air, greener spaces, stronger protections for animal welfare and tougher action on plastic waste.