Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Beverage Containers

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to introduce (a) 25p per coffee cup surcharge, (b) bottle deposit scheme and (c) refillable water bottle policy.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recognises the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. At Budget 2018, the Government concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable cups to reusable cups across all beverage types.

The Government expects industry to go further in taking action on disposable plastic cups and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. In the meantime, the Government is considering the case for reducing the environmental impact of disposable cups within a reformed packaging producer responsibility system and a potential deposit return scheme (DRS), which we are currently inviting views on through consultation.

The DRS consultation is being undertaken jointly by the UK and Welsh Governments, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. The consultation was launched on 18 February and will close on 13 May. The aim of a DRS is that it is easy for consumers to return drinks containers (such as plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans, and glass bottles), reduce litter and increase recycling rates of drinks containers within the scope of a DRS.

The Government recognises the importance of making drinking water more readily available in public places, as a means of reducing single use plastic bottles. As laid out in the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Resources and Waste Strategy, we are already taking action in this area.

The Government has encouraged transit hub operators, including Network Rail and airports, to install free water fountains to support refilling water bottles.

The water industry is supporting the Refill campaign, which is managed by City to Sea. We are pleased to see new refill points being installed in every major city and town in England. There are now over 14,000 refill points on City to Sea’s free Refill app, and they aim to double this by 2020.

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