The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has today published a report “Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide.” The report follows the Inquiry held by the EAC earlier this year, that investigated plastic bottles and coffee cups, to which #OneLess provided both written and oral evidence.
The Committee has called on the government to:
- Introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles
- Introduce a requirement for all public premises that serve food and drink to provide free drinking water
- Increase the number of public water fountains
- Make producers financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce and to phase in a mandated 50% recycled plastic content in plastic bottles, to be achieved by 2023 at the latest
Single-use plastic drink bottles are one of the most common items of litter found in the marine environment, where they persist for hundreds of years, damaging wildlife and poisoning the food chain. The UK gets through 7.7 billion single-use plastic water bottles each year, of which only half are currently recycled; the rest are at risk of ending up in our waterways where they can be carried out to the ocean.
Fiona Llewellyn, #OneLess Project Manager said, “We are delighted that the EAC has listened and acted on the advice we provided. This is great progress towards the UK becoming a society that no longer needs or uses single-use plastic water bottles, so many of which end up in our ocean. It is now up to the government to act and take these ambitious, yet fully-achievable recommendations forward.”
Increasing public access to free drinking water will help the UK make the switch away from bottled water, to refilling – good news for the UK and for the ocean.