The Daily Telegraph

Cash payouts for collecting plastic litter

Government to reward disposing of used bottles and cans in ‘reverse vending machines’

- By Christophe­r Hope and Louisa Wells Listen to Christophe­r Hope’s interview with environmen­t minister Rebecca Pow on Chopper’s Politics Podcast from today at, Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you hear your podcasts.

A “CASH for litter” scheme to pay people for collecting old plastic bottles and cans and posting them into machines in shops could be up and running in two years’ time, a minister has said.

The results of a consultati­on into a new deposit return scheme are to be published by the end of this month to “set the direction” of the new scheme.

The news emerged as the Government confirmed today that plastic cutlery, plates and polystyren­e cups will be banned within months.

A consultati­on on the idea for a deposit return scheme to pay people to collect recyclable rubbish was started in 2019. The policy idea is now due to be unveiled by the end of this month.

Rebecca Pow, an environmen­t minister, told Chopper’s Politics podcast today that ministers will publish “the very detailed consultati­on which will set the direction of what is going to happen.

“It will be for cans and plastic, not glass. The main aim of it is to reduce waste and littering. But what we need to get out of it in particular is really good quality material that can be recycled.”

Consumers will be able to go to supermarke­ts and insert old cans and bottles into new “reverse vending machines” in shops around the country, and then be paid for what they are recycling, she said.

Anyone putting bottles or cans into the machines will receive “an amount per item”, she added.

A new government body will be set up to administer the new scheme. Charities will be able to collect bottles and cans themselves to raise money.

Pressed on when this might happen, Ms Pow said: “We’ve got dates for it to come on stream within the next couple of years.”

Separately, the Government said single-use plastic plates, cutlery and a host of other items will be banned in England from October.

Currently, consumers in England use around 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery per year, with only 10 per cent of it recycled.

The change will mean that from October this year, the public will not be able to buy the banned items from retailers, takeaways and food vendors.

The ban will be enforced through civil sanctions – but with the possibilit­y of repeated breaches ending up in a criminal offence.

However, it will not apply to plates, trays, and bowls used as packaging in what the Department called “shelfready pre-packaged food items”.

Asked whether she was comfortabl­e as a Conservati­ve minister banning items from consumers, Ms Pow said it was a “very, very good question”, although she said that the success of the ban on free carrier bags – there is currently a charge levied by the Government – was a “game changing” moment.

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