Councillors have called for the introduction of a deposit scheme for cans and plastic bottles to encourage recycling and reduce litter in Sunderland.
Four members of the Conservative opposition have tabled a motion at this week’s full council meeting, asking the authority to explore the feasibility of such a scheme.
It would mean a small charge being added to each can and bottle sold, which will be refunded on their return.
The last few months have seen a number of complaints over rubbish and fly-tipping in the city, as previously reported by the Echo.
Sunderland City Council said seven years of Government cuts totalling hundreds of millions of pounds, have negatively impacted front-line services, including waste management and enforcement.
Last month, the council voted to introduce fortnightly rather than weekly household bin collections, with general waste and recycling on alternate weeks.
The UK currently recycles less than 60% of plastic bottles – in Germany it is a staggering 98% – which just goes to show what such a scheme could achieveCoun Peter Wood
Conservative group leader Coun Peter Wood say a deposit scheme would reduce littering and save money in addition to the obvious environmental benefits.
The motion, signed by Coun Wood and colleagues Bob Francis, Shirley Leadbitter and Michael Dixon, reads: “That this council investigate the possibility of a deposit return system for cans and plastic bottles within the city.”
Coun Wood said: “Conservative councillors will be asking the city council to investigate the possibility of introducing a deposit scheme for plastic bottles, and cans, in the city at Wednesday’s meeting of the full Council.
“If we can introduce such a scheme it would help reduce litter, increase recycling and could cut the costs of waste disposal in the city.
“It should also make it easier to manage fortnightly domestic rubbish collections.”
Coun Wood said it is time to look to other countries, many of which have been running similar schemes for years.
He said: “The Scottish government is currently looking at the merits of introducing such a scheme north of the border and a number of Scottish councils have expressed their support.
“I understand there are schemes operating in the Scandinavian countries as well as Germany and the Netherlands, Lithuania, Australia, Canada and the USA.
“The UK currently recycles less than 60% of plastic bottles.
“In Germany it is a staggering 98% – which just goes to show what such a scheme could achieve.
“It may well be that what we really need is a national scheme which applies to everyone rather than just a city-wide initiative.”
The monthly meeting of the full council will be held in the council chamber at 6pm on Wednesday.