Ministers considering plastic bottle tax for England

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A plastic bottle deposit return tax could be introduced in England, according to ministers

Environment minister Therese Coffey seemingly confirmed that ministers are considering the introduction of a plastic bottle tax for England as a measure to limit the amount of plastic waste filling up the country’s landfill sites.

Unlike the 5p plastic bag tax, which was successfully introduced in England towards the end of 2015, the rumoured plastic bottle tax would not be a flat tax, but would work as a type of deposit and return tax.

Ministers are considering a bottle deposit tax for England

Ministers are considering the introduction of a plastic bottle tax in England

Consumers would pay an extra 10p or 20p at the till when purchasing a beverage packaged in a plastic bottle and would then receive the same amount back on returning it to a bottle return station.

This type of deposit return scheme for plastic bottles is in operation in many European countries and in the U.S and Canada. Most recently, Scotland trialled the idea, which has inspired English ministers to also consider the benefits of such a system.

Ministers must first weigh up the costs involved in the introduction of a deposit return system in England and also consider what kind of reception it would receive from the British public.

According to a study by Elena Sautkina, an environmental psychologist, the public support for a deposit return scheme has increased from 33% to 39% in England, 25% to 34% in Scotland, and 44% to 50% in Wales, since the 5p plastic tag bag was brought in.

Samantha Harding, of the Protect Rural England campaign, commented on the possibility of a bottle return scheme: “Introducing a deposit return system would fit well with Government’s admirable ambition that we be the first generation to leave our environment better than we found it.”

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