‘There must be mandatory deposit system for water bottles’

August 11, 2016

Water bottle pollution

WATER NIGHTMARE: Water bottles like this are part of the 13 billion sold annually in the UK with 10 out of 13 ending up in landfill. The bottled water market is worth £2.1B and emits 350,000 tons of CO2. Seven litres of water are used just to produce one plastic bottle. All figures are supplied by the Universities of York and Nottingham and the Government.

Emma Bridgewater

DEPOSIT SYSTEM: New president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and boss of Emma Bridgewater Pottery that is a well-known ceramics manufacturer in Staffordshire. She has called for a compulsory deposit system on plastic bottles, just like there used to be on glass bottles. Picture courtesy of Achica Living.


WHAT motivates motorists, cyclists or pedestrians to casually lob plastic water bottles to the side of the road or out of their car windows?

Our green and pleasant land in the South West is facing an avalanche of plastic that is not just a blight to the environment but a health risk to wildlife as well as ourselves. If you look carefully from a bicycle or your car if you are in a queue at traffic lights, you will see an energy drink can, Cola can or plastic water bottle nestled on the edge of the road, right in the corner next to the pavement.

A set of mind-boggling figures released by the Universities of York and Nottingham, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the National Hydration Council that should be motivating the general public.

These are just for water bottles alone. Thirteen billion plastic bottles of water are produced annually representing a market of £2.1B and ten out of 13 of those bottles end up in landfill.

It takes 700 years for each plastic water bottle to decompose and get this, it takes a further SEVEN litres of water just to produce one bottle. Perhaps these two facts alone begin to put this insanity in some kind of context. The industry itself emits 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Emma Bridgewater is the new president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and like me, this is one of her pet hates. I would add that beer cans and soft drinks bottles and cans should be thrown in the mix too.

In an opinion piece of The Mail on Sunday, she explains why it is necessary to look at the problem of plastic again, despite the recent 5p charge on single-use plastic bags in all the major brand supermarkets.

“In fact, almost everywhere I look I see evidence of our casual disregard for what nature has given us; the vast armies of pylons marching out as far as the eye can see; the litter left behind at beauty spots; and a pet hate of mine – the discarded plastic bottles, whether in hedgerows or bobbing up in ponds and lakes.

“I sometimes wonder what has become of us that we feel the need to carry water. Is it really necessary?

“Ten billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year, littering streets and polluting pristine landscapes. I want to see this tide driven back.

“The Government has already made important strides in cutting our use of plastic bags.

“Now we must do something for plastic bottles. I am proposing a compulsory deposit system, such as used to be offered on glass bottles, so that customers have a real incentive to return them for proper and safe disposal.”

“Even 10p per bottle would make an impact. Other countries – like Germany for example – have schemes of this sort. I think such a move would be immensely popular.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

From a Concerned landowner August 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Last time I was in Holland, there were crates by the entry door at the supermarkets where you returned your empty beer bottles, and then you told the check out how many you’d left, for the deposit return, all on an honestly basis, its a change of mind set and attitude by both the public and business that’s needed, main land European countries are years ahead of us on recycling and litter control. t is a problem, every time I walk around my dry cows grazing a road side field I’m picking up bottles, cans and take away containers etc


Anonymous August 13, 2016 at 1:59 pm

This won’t work as supermarkets and other retailers won’t want the hassle and expense of processing refunds on empty bottles given back and returned. Also they will have to find somewhere to store all the returned bottles until they are collected from them and sent for recycling. Non starter of an idea !


FFA FB page group member August 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I bloody hate litter. There’s no excuse for it.


Peter Pilley August 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

A host of today’s communal housekeeping problems can be dramatically reduced by active inclusion in our education program. How? We replace some subject areas which have little or no relevance to the daily needs of our young citizens with the practical subjects which at present are skills picked up by word of mouth or not at all.
Example? How to conduct a retail purchase with awareness of the needs and dignity of parties on both sides of the shop counter.
A Throwaway Society is in ever present danger of ditching its compassion and we have the bitterness of Conflict and War as one extreme result of such mass drainage of respect for where we live and who we live with.


Steve Dickinson August 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

Replace with glass bottles, again with a return deposit.


DSCW page supporter August 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Yes , must be made law, why are they so slow in this country to do anything?


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