Scottish environment minister Roseanna Cunningham has said the UK Government should follow Scotland’s example in setting up a deposit return scheme (DRS).
In September last year Scotland announced it would introduce DRS to reduce the increasingly visible problem of littered drinks containers.
Although environment secretary Michael Gove ran a seven-week consultation on DRS last year, the recently published Defra 25-year environment plan made no direct reference to setting up a scheme.
Cunningham said she was disappointed that Gove’s plan made no commitments on DRS.
She said: “We believe a DRS for drinks containers has a vital role to play in protecting our environment and wish to co-operate with the UK government, and other devolved administrations, to deliver the best possible scheme for everyone.
“The time for action is now, and I urge the UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, to join us in this important endeavour.”
Scotland announced a ban on plastic cotton buds earlier this month and Cunningham has pledged to back the EU’s plastics strategy to make all plastic packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030.
Dominic Hogg, chairman of consultants Eunomia, said he was “taken aback” by the number of people arguing against DRS after Gove’s consultation.
Retailers and the packaging and plastics industries have been reacting to recent policy announcements and intense media focus on plastic littering.
Drinks giant Coca-Cola has announced it will collect and recycle 100% of its packaging by 2030.
The UK Bottled Water Conference, which will be held in London in March, will focus on plastics recycling initiatives and DRS policies.
Expertise will be shared by compliance company Ecosurety, environment charity Hubbub, Coca-Cola, Co-op and recyclers Recoup.