The immediate impact of bottle deposits is about making big numbers of bottles get recycled, stopping them from entering the sea or landfill. The scheme we want would collect a minimum of 85% of plastic bottles, a huge increase from between 35% to 45% recycled currently. If we follow the examples of Germany and the Netherlands, a high deposit (they use 25 euro cents) and convenient reverse vending machines, we can get closer to 95% reclaimed.

Those higher recycling rates will mean less litter – and less plastic going into the sea. A recent study showed that states with bottle deposits in both Australia and the USA had 40% fewer plastic bottles on their beaches. So bottle deposits will help turtles keep eating fish, not plastic. Phew.

As well as less plastic in the sea, more than 85% recycling rates will take a big chunk out of the estimated 1 billion plastic bottles we’re landfilling every year. Walking in the hills behind Wellington you can see the landfill slowly packing valleys with trash. One billion plastic bottles looks like 754 jumbo jets full of plastic. That’s plastic we don’t need to be cramming into the earth. And the added bonus is that bottle deposits would save $23-40 million per year in the way that councils (ie you via your rates) pay for recycling and landfill.

The other part of that big jump in recycling rates is that it means less new plastic needs to be made (from crude oil!). This is big environmentally. It’ll reduce the need to drill for oil in precious deep-sea ecosystems. And less oil being turned into plastics will cut greenhouse gas emissions, helping keep our climate a little safer for life!