On their annual beach-cleaning weekends over the past ten years, the Marine Conservation Society has picked up a total of 102,000 bottles.The reason for chucking a bottle away is obvious: once you’ve consumed its contents, it is no use to you. Great numbers of us do not: the campaign group Recycle Now estimates that in Britain alone, 16 million plastic bottles are not recycled every day.Within two years, plastic ducks were washing up on the beaches of Alaska.
Recycling bottles surely cannot defeat the wits of an industry which took Del Boy Trotter’s idea of bottling tap water and used it to make a fortune. Coca-Cola bottled tap water in Sidcup and called it ‘Dasani’. Individual bottles of ‘natural’ water and fizzed-up sugared water sell for about £1.The story’s worth repeating, because plastic ducks are funny. But, for some reason, we don’t seem to notice plastic bottles so much, not least because they are transparent.Yet take a walk on a beach almost anywhere and you are certain to find them.Saving the world from litter is the responsibility of someone called Lord Gardiner of Kimble (no, I’d never heard of him either — turns out he came to his current eminence fired up by tireless work for the Refreshment Committee of the House of Lords).When asked about trying to change attitudes by introducing a deposit scheme for plastic bottles, he said the Government had looked into the idea and decided it would be ‘an expensive exercise’.But it is a lot harder to shoot someone if you can’t get access to a gun.