Global sales of drinks bottles, cartons, pouches and sachets are set to reach 1.9 trillion this year, according to research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), which is backing a global day of action calling for worldwide deposit return schemes (DRSs).
From 9am this morning, groups from 23 countries and five continents released a series of aerial photographs and video messages written on hillsides, beaches and buildings calling for a ‘clean planet’.
The global stunt aims to raise awareness of the environmental damage that drinks packaging does, and calls for governments to take action and extend, update or introduce DRSs, which the campaigners argue is the best solution to drinks container pollution.
Clean Planet campaigners argue that well thought-out DRSs boost recycling rates for drinks containers by more than 90%.
Countries taking part include New Zealand, Australia, China, India and Iran, as well as European countries such as Latvia, Czech Republic and Norway. From the Americas, they have Argentina, Canada, the US and Mexico taking part.
In a joint statement the Clean Planet campaigners said: “The scale of the pollution problem requires immediate global action. Now is the time for every government around the world to stand up and take action against the environmental devastation caused by drinks [packaging] – we cannot wait any longer for a clean planet.
“Through effective DRSs that collect and accept every single type of drinks container, introduced right across the world, we have a chance to stop choking our planet with the trillions of bottles, cans and cartons that are produced every single year.”
The CPRE will be holding England’s ‘Clean Planet’ event in West Sussex, where it will be hanging banners with the message from the sails of a windmill overlooking the South Downs National Park.
Litter programme director Samantha Harding said: “We stand united with campaigners from across the globe, calling for worldwide DRSs to tackle the environmental crisis caused by drinks containers.
“With global sales approaching two trillion, it is clear that the consumption of drinks cans, bottles and cartons has reached epidemic proportions. Without immediate action, our countryside and environment will continue to pay the price for the careless actions of those producing these products.
“As the UK Government edges closer to a decision on the type of DRS that will be introduced in England, it is imperative that environment secretary Michael Gove ensures that we get the best possible system.
“Only by introducing an ‘all-in’ DRS – that includes every single drinks can, bottle and carton of all sizes and materials – are we going to tackle the crisis effectively and bring about the clean planet that we so desperately need.”