Report: 8 Billion Bottles, Cans in Rivers in 1 Year

Published March 17th, 2021 - 09:48 GMT
8 billion bottles and cans dumped in rivers or sent to landfill sites in just one year
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
More than 8 billion bottles and cans containers were dumped in water.

More than eight billion drinks containers were dumped in rivers or seas, sent to landfill or not recycled in the UK in one year, a report has found.

The research – by Greenpeace, CPRE and environment group Reloop – found that in 2019 some 40 per cent of containers were plastic bottles, just under a third were cans and 18 per cent was glass.

And, in the UK alone, each person throws away 126 drink containers a year.

The groups are calling for a tough deposit return scheme which will create a financial incentive for people to return their bottles and cans in the form of a cash deposit.

The Mail has highlighted the scourge of waste with our Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, and the government has backed our calls for a deposit return scheme.

Each year we have also backed the Great British Spring Clean, which encourages Britons to rid their communities of litter.

In Germany, where a deposit return scheme has operated for decades, and which the UK hopes to emulate by 2023, just 21 drinks containers are trashed per person each year.

Samantha Harding, Executive Director of Reloop, said: 'The staggering scale of wasted drinks cans and bottles in the UK should provide clarity for UK governments as they prepare to consult for a final time on the confirmed deposit return system.

‘They must keep focused on their shared ambition to eliminate wastage by introducing legislation and regulation that allows for the best possible design, one that prioritises convenience for consumers and sets an effective deposit level.

‘Whilst some sectors continue to call for delays to this crucial policy, our analysis shows that there’s no longer any time to waste.’

Tom Fyans, Director of Campaigns and Policy at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: ‘Litter left in our countryside, streets, parks and rivers isn’t just an eyesore - it can be extremely harmful to wildlife and nature, and it costs taxpayers millions of pounds in clean-up costs every year. 

'This huge statistic of over 8 billion wasted containers is awful, but it’s also not surprising given government action to tackle our throwaway culture is so long overdue.

‘CPRE has long been calling for an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme, which would be a simple and effective way of drastically reducing litter.

‘The small deposit acts as a financial incentive to make sure rubbish ends up where it belongs, and valuable materials are properly recycled. 

'The government must prioritise action on this by implementing an ‘all-in’ deposit system as soon as possible and by no later than 2023.’ 

Sam Chetan-Welsh, Political Campaigner at Greenpeace, said: ‘These figures show that every delay to the introduction of a deposit return scheme means billions more drinks bottles getting dumped or burned. 

'The government must deliver an ‘all-in’ deposit return system by 2023, covering drinks packaging of all sizes and made from all materials, including glass and metal.

‘Other countries have had successful systems operating for years, so if the UK government delays deposit return, it would raise serious questions about their claims of being a ‘world leader’ on plastic pollution.’

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like