Londoners are consuming more plastic bottled water per person than anywhere else in England, according to a report by the London Assembly revealed Thursday, which also called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to introduce a bottle deposit scheme to encourage the recycling of used bottles.

The report “Bottled Water” unveiled by the assembly’s environment committee finds that the recycling rate in the British capital stands at around 32 percent, one of the worst in the country compared with a national average of 43 percent.

Plastic bottles make up all of the litter found in the River Thames, said the report.

London Assembly member (AM) Leonie Cooper, who chairs the committee said “Plastic waste is out of control in London. It litters our parks, pollutes the Thames, harms marine life, and adds waste to London’s landfill sites, which may be full by 2025.”

While urging for a reduction in using bottled water, Cooper called for an improvement in recycling.

“We need to improve our recycling of plastic bottles. Currently, far too many end up in landfill or in the natural environment,” said Cooper.

Citing Germany as a good example, the report says 99 percent of plastic bottles are recycled in the country, as bottle deposit recycling machines are put in places such as supermarkets.

The committee says Mayor Khan should explore the feasibility of a bottle deposit in London, with a view to trialing a nation-wide scheme. Such a scheme would offer an incentive for Londoners to return plastic bottles by adding a reclaimable amount of money to the price of bottled drinks.

It also wants the mayor to encourage community water refill schemes so Londoners can fill up water bottles for free at participating venues, and also install more water refilling stations across the London transport network.

According to a government-funded waste advisory group, the average household in Britain uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but recycles only 270 of them.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office said Khan is supportive of initiatives to help boost access to tap water on the go, such as stores and restaurants providing free tap water.

“The mayor’s forthcoming environment strategy will include proposals aimed at reducing food and drink waste, including packaging, and increasing recycling rates,” added the spokesman. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/