CPRE call for bottle deposit scheme

Consumers could be paid for recycling their plastic bottles under a scheme proposed by the Campaign to Protect Rural England

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) proposes (plastic) bottle recycling scheme where extra 10 pence would be added to the cost of goods such as drinks which would be returned to the consumer after the bottle is taken to collection points.

The organization is lobbying for the bottle deposit system as part of its three-year Stop the Drop campaign against litter and fly-tipping, which was launched by CPRE president and author Bill Bryson in April 2008.

UK households use an average of 500 plastic bottles a year, and just 130 of these are recycled while the rest head for landfill or end up littering towns and countryside.

I would say that most of those end up littering the countryside as those are the bane of all those that work in the countryside, namely the ones where bottled water came in.

Earlier this year, an annual survey of local authorities revealed that average performance on cleaning up litter has slipped from satisfactory to unsatisfactory.

No local authority has been rated good, which is very disappointing, given that it is a statutory requirement.

Local authorities are also, so it is said, failing to punish offenders, despite being given powers to fine people for littering and fly-tipping. This definitely appears to be the case for there are anecdotes of details having been passed to councils of persistent offenders in fly tipping with the councils having even taken any action whatsoever against said offenders.

CPRE is calling for Government to set local authorities targets for clearing up litter and encourage them to punish offenders.

The organization is also encouraging people to support its campaign by complaining to their local authority about litter.

But the deposits scheme idea is not a new proposal by far. In fact the CPRE have jumped on the bandwagon that others have started rolling, including this publication.

At the Green (Living) Review we have been calling for the return of deposits, but also for the return of the glass bottle and the doing away with the plastic bottle, for a long time already. The deposit system on bottles, in those days glass bottles, worked perfectly well with stores taking the bottles back and giving back the deposit to those returning the bottle(s).

This does not work all that easy with the plastic bottle. In fact the proposal here appears to be calling, in fact, for special collection points. This is a fact that is rather daft, to say the least, for one can well imagine that such collection points are, once again, only reachable for most people, by car. Instead we should return to the glass bottle (yes, I know glass can break and is therefore a health & safety issues and if we just would not be such a sissy state as well) and deposits being dealt with in the same way as in the not too distant past, namely in the stores where such goods were sold.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008