Monday Moaning

Ban Plastic Bottles for the sake of the planet!

It’s high time the plastic bottle was banned in favour of returnable and reusable glass bottles.

Bring back refunds on bottles

When I was young we boosted our pocket money by collecting bottles and returning them to claim the refund. A common-sense, green approach. Shouldn’t we go back to that?

‘For readers born after the 1980s, by which time bottle-return schemes in the UK were extinct, here’s an explainer: return the bottle and you get the charge back’: Lucy Siegle on the old scheme. Photograph: PA Wire/Press Association Images

‘For readers born after the 1980s, by which time bottle-return schemes in the UK were extinct, here’s an explainer: return the bottle and you get the charge back’: Lucy Siegle on the old scheme. Photograph: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Never apologise for jumpers-for-goalposts recollections. The panoply of ethical living systems should always make room for simple, old school solutions. These also include water fountains and putting a jumper on in lieu of turning up the thermostat. All antidotes to overengineered sustainability solutions.

For readers born after the 1980s, by which time bottle-return schemes in the UK were extinct, here’s an explainer: the scheme adds a small charge to the price of a bottled drink. Return the bottle to a certified outlet and you get the charge back. It’s essentially a deposit and it should pay dividends in eco terms. They are still common in countries including the USA, Australia and parts of Scandinavia where they’ve also come in handy for providing an incentive to take responsibility for other potential pests of the planet: batteries (in Sweden) and tyres (Maine, USA).

As it became cheaper to make bottles and consumerism rose the impetus to collect and refill vanished. And we fell in love with single-use plastic containers. Then we found out there was a heavy ecological cost but seem to have been unable successfully to reverse our habits. For instance just 25% of plastic packaging was recycled in the UK during 2012, placing the UK in 25th position out of 29 EU Countries. Overall the UK still recycles 25% less waste than Denmark, and this year just scrapes into the top 10 league table of recyclers in Europe.

We need to up our game if we want to move towards a “zero- waste” economy and hit our targets. A well-designed bottle bill, governing deposits on glass, aluminium and common forms of plastic could do wonders for our rubbish status!

Inevitably there’s corporate resistance from the drinks giants. Even where deposit refund schemes are common there is dissent. Recently in Australia’s Northern Territories a deposit scheme was challenged by Coca-Cola Amatil and Schweppes.

Read more

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Opinion:

We need to wake up!

We need to defy the whinging corporations!

We need to think about what is right!

We need to FORGET money!

 

 

 

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6 responses to this post.

  1. I would rather see bottle deposit schemes than be picking up discarded bottles in my local nature park every day.

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  2. I missed when glass bottles disappeared and along with them the refundable deposits. Everything is about convenience today, and having to lug heavy glass bottles and then return them, get your receipt is way too much work. Yes, bring back the glass bottle.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more. Glass jars should be returned and reused as well and just the lids replaced.

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