58 percent of plastic bottles found on British beaches could be out of recycling scheme

December 17, 2018 | Environment
Surfers Against Sewage: analyzing 27,696 single-use drinks containers | Photo: SAS

Back in October, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) asked the British to become citizen scientists and record all of the different sizes of drinks containers they were finding, as part of the Autumn Beach & River Clean.

People went out in their thousands and made this survey the largest of its kind, with 27,696 single-use drinks containers recorded at 487 beaches and rivers across the United Kingdom.

But why did Surfers Against Sewage ask people to do that? This year, the UK Government announced that a drink bottle Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) would come into place, but questions are being raised about the size of bottles to be included.

The British Retail Consortium says only plastic bottles up to a certain size should be part of the scheme.

Why does it matter? The nongovernmental organization found that 58 percent of all plastic bottles found on British beaches and rivers were 750ml or larger and would be left out of the bottle recycling scheme if a size limit is added.

The research revealed the vital need to include all plastic bottle sizes, or the new system will end up watered down and fail to tackle plastic pollution.

"We'll be delivering this new data to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), starting with a call with Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP, next week," the Surfers Against Sewage note.

SAS Autumn Beach & River Clean | The Breakdown

15,820 single-use plastic containers
8,672 cans
2,688 glass bottles
516 tetra packs, cartons, and other containers

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