Zero waste

Hands with gloves counting littered plastic bottles

At CPRE Warwickshire we want to reduce waste, including harmful plastics and other single-use packaging. Excessive and single-use packaging costs money to remove, destroy or recycle, and contributes to the climate emergency. It’s time for change.

We have consistently campaigned for an all-in Deposit Return Scheme to protect our streets, green spaces, soil and waterways from waste pollution.

We want this to cover all drinks containers, a commonly littered item, to increase recycling of these items to over 90%.

 

Any lover of the countryside will have seen the way the landscape is blighted by litter. A combination of an ineffective recycling system and a lack of awareness of those who litter has created an enormous waste problem.

Thrown, dropped, fly-tipped and flushed, waste travels along our waterways and into our seas causing devastation to ecosystems and wildlife along the way. As a population we are waking up to the crisis that we have created.

Deposit return schemes and increased manufacturer responsibility for the lifespan of products will make a huge difference. On an individual level, the best thing we can do is to reduce the unnecessary packaging that we bring into our homes. If more of us purchased sustainably, a substantial weight on our environment would be lifted. Importantly, this will also influence how big businesses act as they pay attention to our consumer behaviour.

A comprehensive deposit return scheme is vital

17th October 2019

More than one in four bottles that litter our countryside may not be included in the deposit return scheme if the government buckles under pressure from industry.

Responding to the publication of the Environment Bill, which will allow for the creation of a deposit return scheme (DRS), we urged the government to continue with its ambition for all drinks containers – no matter the size or material – to be included in the system and not fold under industry lobbying. The Bill allows for the creation of a DRS but does not specify what will be included or when it will be introduced.

Evidence for an all-in scheme continued to build with our Green Clean event, a nationwide litter pick carried out each year. 10,000 drinks containers were collected during the month-long litter pick, including cans, plastic bottles of all sizes and glass bottles. The 2019 results suggested that millions of drinks containers would still end up littering our countryside if the drinks industry secures a limited DRS to serve their interests.

The Green Clean, which took place right across England, found that:

  • A quarter (23%) of glass bottles collected were over the 750ml size limit, the current upper limit for the model for DRS being pushed by key industries
  • More than one quarter (28%) of plastic bottles found littering the countryside were larger than the common 500ml bottle size and could be excluded from the scheme being pushed by key industry stakeholders

Additionally, more than 1 in 10 drinks containers collected were glass – and this figure doesn’t include the shattered pieces of glass that volunteers were unable to count. These would all be left to harm people, and wildlife if glass is excluded from a future DRS.

Tom Fyans, our deputy chief executive, said: ‘It’s great to see the government include powers to introduce a deposit return scheme in the Environment Bill but as the results of our nationwide litter-pick demonstrate, in order to be an effective deterrent to the high volumes of waste polluting our natural environment, it must cover all materials of all sizes.

‘To boost recycling rates for all drinks containers – cans, glass and plastic bottles, cartons and pouches – the only option is for the government to introduce an all-in system. The industries that would be required to pay for the deposit return scheme continue to try to limit its scope but we urge the government to prioritise the needs of the environment and society over corporate vested interests.

‘As the Secretary of State for the Environment announced the publication of the Environment Bill, it was encouraging to hear her recognise the benefits of the DRS in England being the same as the DRS being introduced in Scotland, which will be all-in. This provides further hope that the government is listening as we make the case for an ambitious approach to tackling the problem of litter. But there’s no time to waste, so we hope the DRS element of the Bill will be a priority as the government takes forward this vital piece of legislation.’

We thought it was important to highlight the many wonderful “zero waste” shops we have on offer in our region:

 

Cogs – Stall 120, Coventry Market, Coventry, CV1 1DL

CORE – 45 Park Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 4QN

Greenbean – 62 Smith Street, Warwick, CV34 4HU

Rugby Unwrapped – 66 Church Street, Rugby, CV21 3PT

The Clean Kilo – 1 Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4BF

The Clean Kilo – 249 Mary Vale Road, Bournville, Birmingham, B20 1PN

The Refill Box – 4 Shrieves Walk, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6EE

Zero – 41 Russell Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5QB

 

Have we missed anyone? If so, get in touch with us and let us put that right!

 

We interviewed Michele from Greenbean to discover more: