Scheme to boost recycling of drinks containers to be introduced in the UK in 2023
By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent
A "deposit return scheme" for drinks containers will be introduced in 2023 to help cut litter and boost recycling, the Government has said.
The details of the scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which would charge customers a levy on containers such as plastic bottles, that is paid back when they return them for recycling, have yet to be drawn up.
But the Government said it could apply to containers up to three litres, bringing it closer to the "all-in" scheme campaigners want, and which is planned for Scotland, rather than a more limited system which focuses only on smaller, on-the-go bottles and cans.
The scheme is one of a number of measures to transform waste and recycling in England, and follows a series of consultations.
The Government has also said it will legislate to ensure that all households have a separate food waste collection by 2023, with kitchen scraps picked up weekly from all homes, including flats.
All English local authorities will be required to collect the same set of materials for recycling from that time: glass bottles and jars, paper and card, plastic bottles including drinks and milk containers, detergent, shampoo and cleaning products, plastic pots, tubs and trays and steel and aluminium tins and cans.
Alongside making weekly food waste collections mandatory, the Government said it will consider whether residual rubbish should be collected at least every other week, in the face of some councils moving to three-weekly pickups.
The Government has also said it will ensure producers of packaging bear the full net cost of disposing of it, and encourage more recyclable products.
The plans form part of progress towards a new Environment Bill which will also include requirements on protecting nature, including ensuring net gains for wildlife in future housing and commercial developments.
A new office for environmental protection will be able to take central Government and public bodies to court if they fail to abide by environmental law, will have a free-to-use complaints system and will be able to undertake its own investigations.
And analysis for the Government has concluded that it would be technically feasible to meet World Health Organisation guideline limits for the dangerous pollutant fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, by 2030.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "We know we must do all we can to protect our precious natural environment.
"There is a clear need to act to ensure we do not leave this planet to the next generation more polluted, more dangerous and denuded of its natural riches.
"The measures in our Environment Bill will position the UK as a world leader, ensuring that after EU Exit environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government.
"As we have set out today, our plans will improve air quality so that our children live longer, restore habitats and increase biodiversity, strive towards a more circular economy and ensure we can manage our precious water resources in a changing climate."