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Supermarkets In UK Add New Bottle Deposit Return On Recyclables

Iceland and Co-op supermarkets in the United Kingdom will be adding a bottle deposit return scheme to tackle plastic pollution. They join a number of states in America that offer can and bottle returns. With plastic usage continuing to rapidly increase, giving people a monetary incentive to recycle is a great idea, and one that holds a lot of promise.

Greenpeace, an organization that seeks to conserve the environment, released a survey that showed the support from Iceland and Co-op retailers. How does it work? It's pretty simple. Deposit fees would be added onto plastic bottles at time of purchase, and if returned, customers would receive part of their money back. This system is great for people who often shop at the same store, or buy a lot of repeat purchases. For example, if you regularly purchase a gallon of milk and it comes with a bottle return, you could bring back your empty bottle each time you buy a new gallon. This is an easy way to remember to make your recyclable returns and get your money back!

As of now, a number of other companies wouldn’t commit to a deposit return scheme, but there’s growing pressure for the government to adopt one in England and Wales.

The organization, along with the supermarket retailers, are pushing for a widespread change. One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. With pollution continuing harm our oceans, some argue that this buildup is on the same level as climate change.

10 states in the U.S. have adopted deposit laws for various cans and bottles. This additional deposit can be anywhere from 5 to 10 cents in most places. There has been some pushback with repealed legislation in Delaware that did away with its additional deposits back in 2010 and multiple states failing to pass their own laws. However, recycling has significantly increased in states that have added deposits.

Michigan has the highest general deposit of 10 cents per can or bottle, but they also had a recycling rate of 97 percent between 1990 and 2008. On average, up to 64 percent of roadside litter is off the streets in these 10 states and they also have a rate of recycling 70 percent of their beverage containers. In comparison, the rest of the United States sits at just 33 percent.

On a worldwide scale, countries that have added a bottle return scheme has seen an increase in over 30 percent recycling.

Richard Walker, Iceland Foods’ Director of Sustainability, tells The Guardian that Norway’s addition “has led to 96 percent of all bottles being returned.” He believes that failure to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste cannot continue, and many share that sentiment.

“The Co-op is in favour of creating a deposit return scheme which increases the overall recycling of packaging and significantly reduces litter and importantly helps tackle marine pollution,” Jo Whitfield, retail chief executive of the Co-op, told The Guardian.

UK government officials have already considered adding a tax to single-use plastic items just last month. Earlier in the year, they were on the same page with the Greenpeace recommendation to add a deposit that could be obtained by customers that bring in their eligible, recyclable products. They’re expected to add a tax hike for traditional diesel vehicles while investing further in the electric vehicle infrastructure.

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