ON a recent short walk I picked up over 100 discarded cans and some glass and plastic bottles. I left enough for the following days.

This shouldn’t have been possible as it’s a criminal offence to drop litter in public places, with a fixed penalty fine of £75, though it could be up to £2,500 in a magistrates court. It needs enforcing as apparently over half of us in the UK drop litter.

Additionally 16 million bottles are dumped as waste in the UK every day, and while UK homes average around 500 plastic bottles annually only a third are recycled from domestic bins.

Last year Coca Cola used 100 billion plastic bottles with just seven per cent made from recycled material. It’s not just this huge demand for CO2 rich oil based plastic as bottling plants also need over 300 billion litres of water annually. Coca Cola is also the biggest user of sugar on the planet, and that requires about a hundred times that amount of water to grow.

Bottled water is both a rip off and unnecessary as it can cost more than a thousand times the price of our drinkable tap water, and rival the price of petrol. The 30 billion bottles sold in the US each year take 17 million barrels of crude oil to make and three times that amount of water to fill.

Much of this single use plastic ends up in the seas, ingested by bird and marine life, and there are already at least 51 trillion microplastic pieces in the seas.

One answer is a 10p deposit scheme for returned bottles and cans. Over 20 countries, including Germany, Canada, Lithuania and Croatia, have reduced their waste, and litter, by over 90 percent this way, whereas the English policy is still controlled by the drinks companies.