Has Gove lost his bottle?Ethical Food & Drink News & Features
Image credit: © David Mirzoeff / Greenpeace
A 29ft plastic bottle sculpture by Lulu Quinn, delivered to DEFRA on Monday by Greenpeace, has been removed by a crane, placed on a flatbed truck and driven away.
The artwork was delivered to Environment Secretary Michael Gove to urge him not to lose his bottle in the face of corporate lobbying, and to press on with an all-inclusive deposit return scheme.
Artist Lulu Quinn built the installation using over 2,500 plastic bottles collected by volunteers from the UK’s streets, beaches and river banks.
Defining a DRS
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a consultation on whether to introduce a scheme whereby a 15p levy could be added to the price of bottles and cans which would be returned once they’d been recycled.
In the UK, recycling collection rates for plastic bottles have stalled at around 59% in recent years, and it is hoped that introducing a scheme like this could boost rates above 95%, as is seen in countries that already have bottle return schemes.
But industry giants are lobbying for the scheme to exclude all bottles bigger than 750ml, as well as all milk bottles made from HDPE plastics.
According to the government’s own consultation document, this would result in at least 6bn bottles per year being left out.
The government also estimates that an ‘all-in’ scheme would have an economic benefit of £9.4bn in its first 10 years, whereas the benefit of a limited scheme would be just £3bn over the same period.
‘It’s very reassuring that, after a thorough and careful assessment, Defra can dispose of plastic bottles safely, even the big ones.’
Oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK