The government hopes its new scheme will slash the amount of plastics polluting the environment and increase recycling rates.
A deposit return scheme for single-use plastic bottles and cans is going to be introduced in England subject to consultation, the government has confirmed.
In a bid to cut waste and boost recycling, shoppers in England will soon be asked to pay a refundable fee when buying single-use drinks.
Plastic, glass and metal containers would be included in the scheme.
A consultation held later this year will examine details of how such a scheme would work, but Sky News says it is likely to be in place by the end of this parliament.
The WWF estimates UK consumers use 13 million plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute the nation’s streets, countryside and seas.
With programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II bringing the issue of our polluted seas to the general public’s attention, the UK government must be seen to be playing its part.
‘We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment— killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats,’ the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said on Sky News.
‘It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,’ he added.
In a move to follow our European counterparts, refundable deposits for single-use drinks containers could range from 8p to 22p.
While environmental campaigners have welcomed the announcement, industry may be worried about the price tag.
It may be asked to foot the bill for the scheme.
Currently plastic producers pay just 10 percent of the cost of recycling packaging.
Samantha Harding, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, told the BBC: ‘This is a brilliant and significant decision by Michael Gove.
‘I am thrilled that we will finally see the many benefits a deposit system will bring to England, not least the absence of ugly drinks containers in our beautiful countryside.
‘What's significant is that producers will now pay the full costs of their packaging, reducing the burden on the taxpayer and setting a strong precedent for other schemes where the polluter pays.’