HC Deb 19 January 1977 vol 924 cc301-2
2. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to encourage the sale of bottles which are returnable, rather than disposable bottles, particularly in areas such as national parks.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Kenneth Marks)

The Waste Management Advisory Council is still studying the case for extending the use of returnable bottles.

Mr. Bennett

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that many supermarkets are putting a great deal of pressure on manufacturers to go for non-returnable bottles? Is he further aware that the summits of many of Britain's most attractive mountains are disfigured by the number of bottles and tin cans that litter them?

Mr. Marks

Yes. Yesterday I met the staff of the Countryside Commission. They pointed out that much of the litter is on the higher ranges in the national parks, not in the valleys, and suggested that climbers particularly ought to carry down as well as take up their litter. We want to reduce litter, particularly in areas such as national parks, but people seem to throw away just as many returnable as non-returnable bottles.

Mr. Giles Shaw

Does the Minister not agree that one of the problems is to maintain products offered in shops at low prices and that the consumer advantage of not having to pay a deposit must weigh heavily with the Waste Management Advisory Council in its consideration of the matter?

Mr. Marks

There is an argument that there is a material saving in using the glass returnable bottles but I appreciate that supermarkets with low overheads may feel that using returnable bottles will increase their overheads.