A new report from the London Assembly Environment Committee makes a number of recommendations to reduce the environmental impacts of plastic bottles.
Londoners consumer more plastic bottled water per person than anywhere else in England. The capital city also has some of the worst recycling rates in the UK, with plastic bottles making up 10% of all litter found in the Thames.
The report found that more plastic bottles need to be recycled in London. In Germany – where DRS machines are located in places such as supermarkets – 99% of plastic bottles are recycled.
Stemming this tide of plastic bottles also means turning towards alternatives. With that in mind, the report suggests providing tap water as an alternative, citing the move as “essential”.
The Committee is calling on London Mayer Sadiq Kahn to explore the feasibility of a DRS in London, with a view to trialling a nationwide scheme.
A DRS, the report said, would offer an incentive for Londoners to return plastic bottles by adding a reclaimable amount to the price of bottle drinks.
Therefore, the report recommends that the Mayor encourage community water refill schemes where Londoners can fill up water bottles for free at participating venues. It also suggests installing more water refilling stations across the London transport network, promote apps to help consumers located businesses willing to provide free water refills.
It also calls on the Mayor to address plastic bottle waste specifically in his upcoming Environmental Strategy.
Leonie Cooper AM, Environment Committee Chair, said: “Londoners need an alternative to buying bottles of water – this is a crucial part of the solution. Tap water needs to be more readily available. Secondly, we need to improve our recycling of plastic bottles.
“Currently, far too many end up in landfill or in the natural environment and London boroughs have some of the worst recycling rates in the whole of the UK.
“Electors heard Sadiq Khan pledge to be the ‘greenest Mayor London has ever had’, now it’s time to fulfil that promise by addressing our thirst for plastic bottled water.”
Image credit: Shutterstock.com/ photka