England ends “free” plastic and aluminium bottles

CLEMENS BILAN

Plastic waste seen at the ALBA Group recycling plant in Berlin, Germany, 15 August 2017 (issued 17 August 2017). Some 140.000 tons of plastic waste per year are processed at the plant of the ALBA Group in Berlin. According to a European Union report, one third of all plastic waste in EU is sent to a landfill instead of it being recycled. According to a EU estimate, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans, much of it breaking into small particles called microplastic, harming all sea life. The EU has activated the 'Circular Economy Action Package', adopted in December 2015, making plastics a priority. While plastic waste already needs to be collected separately, the 'Package' proposes raising the recycling target for plastic packaging to 55 per cent, and reducing landfilling to no more than 10 per cent by 2030. A EU environment paper says the European Commission is preparing a new dedicated plastics strategy aimed at helping Europe improve recycling, cut marine litter, and remove potentially dangerous chemicals.

England ends “free” plastic and aluminium bottles


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England will now follow the lead of Scotland and 40 other European states to introduce a deposit for plastic bottles and aluminium cans used by the soft drink industry.

Consumers will no longer be able to regard packaging as disposable and free as a new deposit tax will cause prices to increase. Consumers will be entitled to a refund. The value of the deposit tax has yet to be specified but it will be enough to encourage recycling. The policy has been effectively tested with bags, reducing the use of single carrier plastic items by 83%.

The British Plastics Federation projects the cost of the infrastructure in the region at €1,2 billion, some of the cost will be born by the retailers.

Environmental groups are hailing the new policy. The move is part of the government’s response to increasing concerns about the contamination of the sea, lakes, and rivers by plastics. British consumers use 13 billion plastic drink bottles a year, 3 billion of which are not recycled.

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