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Back DRS, says the Green Alliance

The Green Alliance has backed deposit return schemes (DRS) as the single most effective action to cut the number of plastic bottles getting into the seas and oceans.

The non-aligned thinktank has published analysis which indicates that one-third of plastic litter comes from bottles. This is likely to escalate as global bottle production is forecast to jump by 20% by 2021, according to market researcher Euromonitor

The group quotes a DRS in Germany where nearly 100% of plastics bottles are returned for recycling, and it argues that such schemes also provide access to more high-quality plastics for recycling.

A DRS is under consideration in Scotland and received the backing of Coca-Cola GB, which said customer research indicated support for such schemes.

As well as DRS, four other actions are backed to reduce the UK’s contribution to plastic in the sea:

  • Enforce Operation Clean Sweep to cut pollution from plastic pellets or ‘nurdles’ used as raw material in industrial processes (9% of plastic pollution)
  • Enforce existing maritime waste dumping bans (11%)
  • Upgrade wastewater treatment plants with sand filters to retain the microplastic fibres shed from synthetic clothes when they are washed (9%)
  • Expand the UK’s ban on microbeads to all products, not just rinse-off products (1%)

Dustin Benton, acting policy director for Green Alliance, said: “The popularity of the microbeads ban and plastic bag charge shows the public is up for tackling these problems.

“The Government should listen, introduce a bottle deposit scheme and enforce rules on sources of industrial waste. These simple steps would address two-thirds of the UK’s marine plastic problem.”

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