People in England will soon have to pay a deposit when they buy drinks bottles and cans in a bid to boost recycling and cut waste.
The deposit will increase prices – but consumers will get the money back if they return the container.
The scheme is expected to cover single-use glass and plastic bottles, and steel and aluminium cans.
Full details are subject to consultation and yet to be decided, including how big the deposit will be.
However, costs in similar schemes elsewhere range from 22p in Germany and 8p in Sweden.
The government announcement comes after the Blue Planet II series highlighted the threat of ocean pollution and showed footage of wildlife eating plastic.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said there was no doubt that plastic was “wreaking havoc” on the marine environment and discarded plastic bottles and cans “end up dumped on pavements and lobbed into rivers, lakes and the sea”.
“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans,” he said.
“We need to see a change in attitudes and behaviour. And the evidence shows that reward and return schemes are a powerful agent of change.”
UK consumers use around 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year but more than three billion are not recycled.
Scotland has already announced plans for a deposit return scheme and in Wales, ministers said they want to help implement a UK-wide system.
Northern Ireland will consider the approach as part of a review later this year.
Similar schemes in northern Europe have led to a big increase in the amount of plastic recycled.
Photo Credit: PDP