Victory for Prince Charles in campaign against plastic

It looks like a crackdown on our addiction to plastic bottles is about to begin, and the UK will get a bottle-return scheme similar to those running in Sweden and Germany.

The deposit return scheme for bottles will be introduced in England – if it successfully passes a consultation phase later this year.

Across the UK we get through 13 billion plastic drinks bottles each year, three billion of which end up in landfill, incinerators or pollute the sea.

Prince Charles called for a bottle deposit scheme when he spoke to ITV News last year.

He was speaking in Malta at the Our Oceans conference, where delegates were told there would soon be more plastic in the sea than fish.

At the time, Malta was about to introduce a scheme of its own.

The UK gets through 13 billion plastic bottles a year. Credit: PA

There are 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans, according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The new plan will involve single-use drinks containers made of plastic, glass or metal.

Sweden has had a bottle deposit scheme for decades. Germany and Denmark also operate similar schemes.

German consumers pay 22p on top of the charge for a bottle which is redeemed when the bottle is returned.

Reverse vending machines are one of the options being looked at, where money is paid when the bottle or container is returned.

German consumers pay 22p on top of each bottle. Credit: PA

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "Plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats."

The plans are only in a very early phase and the Government says it is "developing plans for a consultation scheme later this year".

Environment groups will claim that is too little, too late.

In Germany, they have a 97% rate of recycling for drinks bottles.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be consulted on how a scheme might work in the other parts of the UK.