A bottle deposit return scheme is expected to be introduced later this year, the government has announced.
The move will see customers pay more for single-use plastic, glass or metal drinks containers with the charge refunded on return.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced the scheme in a bid to combat the more than three billion containers that are incinerated or sent to landfill every year.
Similar schemes operate in Denmark, Sweden and Germany with deposits ranging from 8p to 22p.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.
“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.”
UKHospitality has called on the government to create an opt-out for businesses where drinks are sold on the premises, to protect the hospitality industry.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government’s proposal for a deposit scheme highlights the need for a united front from the sector to tackle the problem of packaging waste and avoid additional costs for businesses.
“The hospitality recognises the challenge and is already playing an active role in providing solutions and is not underestimating the importance and cost implications.
“There is, however, a genuine worry that this scheme will simply increase costs for businesses while not providing the action required to tackle packaging waste.
“Any scheme needs to make a provision and an opt-out for hospitality businesses to ensure they do not incur a disproportionate and massive cost burden that could potentially drive some employers out of business.”
The move follows a drive across the hospitality sector to reduce plastic waste. Multiple operators have joined a bid to banish plastic straws with many also acting to reduce their use of single-use plastic across the board.
Plastic straws can take more than 200 years to break down, with the UK using an estimated 8.5 billion each year.
Chef Luke Holder has launched a #chefsagainstplastic campaign in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic kitchen’s produce.