SAS urges government to stay on course with deposit return

Surfers Against Sewage are disappointed to hear that this week’s response by government to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will cause further delays to the implementation of a UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). The Environmental Audit Committee has recommended that the government introduce a DRS for plastic drinks bottles. On Monday the government indicated that a decision could be delayed until after the consultation on a tax on single-use plastics.

The EAC responded by accusing the government of having ‘not adequately acted upon, or responded to, the Committee’s recommendations on deposit return schemes and producer responsibility obligations.’

Now is not the time to be distracted by Treasury discussions revolving around taxation on single-use plastics. Waste management using DRS can complement any treasury process and we urge the government to stay the course on DRS.

At SAS we are concerned that this could be the start of further backsliding by the government. There is irrefutable evidence that DRS schemes work well in other countries, with return rates of well over 90% in some cases. We would like to see the government follow Scotland’s lead and introduce a comprehensive deposit return system for England.

In the UK we use a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles and a further 58 million cans every day. Only half of these are recycled and many of them end up on our beaches and in our oceans. Surfers Against Sewage has been at the forefront of calling for a UK-wide deposit refund system on plastic bottles to stop this source of plastic pollution, recently delivering a petition over 325,000 signatures supporting this call to the Prime Minister.

The time for action is now and we urge the government not to kick the proverbial plastic bottle into the long grass, but implement new policies and legislation that the country is crying out for to finally go plastic free.