Thank you for contacting me about a bottle deposit system.
The Department for the Environment assessed of the costs and benefits of introducing such a scheme in its 2008 Review of Packaging Deposits System for the UK. It found that although it might increase recycling rates for some materials and reduce litter, the running costs would be much higher than alternative measures. It was therefore decided not to take forward this option for the time being and instead to concentrate on other ways to increase recycling and address litter.
To support this important objective I am pleased the Government is developing a National Litter Strategy, advised by a Litter Strategy Advisory Group which includes representatives from local government, campaign groups and independent experts, as well as the packaging and fast-food industries.
This will complement existing work, including actions to address litter in the marine environment. It will promote action to reduce litter and littering on land, which should lead to a reduction in the amount of litter reaching the sea. The UK's Marine Strategy also sets out actions to tackle marine litter, and the Government is working closely with other countries sharing our seas.
You may also be interested to know that the recently introduced 5p charge on single use carrier bags has brought about an 80 per cent reduction in the use of plastic bags, which will also help to address the issue of litter in the marine environment.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.