NEIL Hamilton, Leader of UKIP Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales, is backing a national call to introduce a scheme to help reduce waste.
Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for the Environment, is supporting the introduction of a Deposit Refund System for plastic & glass bottles and drinks cans.
The Marine Conservation Society, who continually campaign to increase recycling rates, recently visited Cardiff, with a deposit return machine, to show members and to talk about their work.
Data from the MCS Great British Beach Clean 2018 shows that on every 100 metres of Welsh beach an average of six drinks bottles, six cans and 40 bottle lids are found.
Mr Hamilton said:
“Those of a certain vintage well remember taking glass bottles back for a refund which ensured very little waste. It worked then and it can work again now when the need is even more urgent.
“Evidence shows that a refund scheme is the best way to cut down on this type of waste. Countries where this operates have seen a significant reduction in littering of plastic and glass bottles and drinks cans.
“We must bear in mind, however, that much of our waste is exported to the Far East, where recycling and environmental regulations are not a strict as ours, so a great deal of our waste still ends up in rivers and oceans. This is a global problem.
“It is vitally important that we continue to lead by example and build on what we have already achieved in Wales. We are the third best recycling nation in the world, which is no mean feat, and I welcome any initiatives to grow this success.”
Apart from calling for the DRS the MCS also wants the introduction of a true Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system ensuring that producers are fully responsible for the recovery, recycling and disposal of their products including any costs incurred through litter prevention and clean ups.
At present the UK system means that only about 10% of these costs are borne by the producers, while the rest becomes a burden on the tax payer.
They are also seeking a levy on disposable drinks cups to encourage reduction in consumption in line with the principles of the waste hierarchy, in turn leading to a decrease in litter.
Gill Bell, MCS Head of Conservation Wales says there is strong, cross-party political support for DRS in the country: “Although Wales is the world’s third best recycling nation, we need to move away from being a throwaway society to a circular economy.
“We believe putting a value on these items will lead to behaviour change. Countries where these schemes have been put in place have seen a significant reduction in littering of these items.
“We need a deposit return scheme in Wales for plastic and glass bottles, and drinks cans which will increase recycling rates, reduce beach litter and help meet our well-being goal of being a globally responsible Wales”
MCS has been running its annual Great British Beach Clean for 25 years around the UK coast and bottles and cans have consistently been in the top 10 of beach litter finds, and in Wales in 2018, on average, 53 drinks containers, including plastic and glass bottles and metal cans, were found on every 100 metres of Welsh beaches cleaned and surveyed.
70% of all litter found on UK beaches is plastic. UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year and it is thought that more than three billion are simply thrown away.
In other parts of the world bottle deposit return schemes have led to an increase in recycling rates.
Hannah Blythyn, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government who has responsibility for waste and recycling said the Welsh Government would shortly be consulting jointly with England on a Deposit Return Scheme.