MPs are listening to campaigners on plastic bottle waste and have proposed a deposit return scheme across the UK.
The Environmental Audit Committee – which focuses on how the government affects the environment – wants to introduce a small charge on plastic drinks bottles that would be returned to the consumer as they are recycled, with the aim of increasing the recycling rate to 90 per cent.
Packaging producers would also be held financially responsible for making sure plastic bottles comprise 50 per cent recycled content by 2023.
In addition, the committee proposes requiring all food and drink outlets to offer free drinking water and to increase the number of public water fountains.
"Around 700,000 plastic bottles are littered in the UK every day. The introduction of a small charge to encourage the return of plastic bottles will result in less littering, more recycling and reduction in the impact of plastic packaging on our natural environment," says Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
"Urgent action is needed to protect our environment from the devastating effects of marine plastic pollution which, if it continues to rise at current rates, will outweigh fish by 2050. Our throwaway society uses 13 billion plastic bottles each year, around half of which are not recycled. Plastic bottles make up a third of all plastic pollution in the sea, and are a growing litter problem on UK beaches. We need action at individual, council, regional and national levels to turn back the plastic tide."