The government's announcement that it plans to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for beverage containers in England has been welcomed by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, though she stated that the measure represents just one part of the holistic approach needed to truly address the issue of single-use plastics.
"After such a long delay, it is good to see the government moving forward on this issue," Lucas commented. "This scheme should have been introduced long ago - and it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing plastic waste."
Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced on 28 March that the government would be looking to implement a DRS in England for plastic, glass and metal beverage containers later this year, subject to the results of a consultation, though he has since revised this timescale. The measure will now likely not be approved until 2020 as part of a new Environmental Protection Act, due to the need to conclude the Treasury's current consultation into a single-use plastics tax before embarking on a new consultation.
Lucas added: "If ministers really are serious about tackling the scourge of plastic pollution, they will implement this DRS as soon as possible, then revise their utterly unambitious target of eliminating 'avoidable' single-use plastics by 2042."