Matthew has welcomed Merijn Tinga – aka the Plastic Soup Surfer – to Parliament after his journey windsurfing from Oslo to Westminster.
Merijn undertook the month-long journey to raise awareness for Deposit Return Schemes (DRS). DRS are a way of encouraging people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans, by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the bottle or can. Consumers can then get this money back when they return the bottle or can to a collection point to be recycled.
On his journey, the Plastic Soup Surfer collected plastic litter and met with former Ministers in countries that have successful implemented similar schemes. Evidence from countries that use these schemes have shown an up to 90 per cent reduction in litter from drinking containers.
The event was attended by environmental groups such as Surfers Against Sewage and Keep Britain Tidy, as well as companies such as Coca Cola.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Oceans Lord Benyon praised Merijn on his journey and for raising awareness around this issue. The Minister mentioned the Government’s plans for a DRS and took Merijn’s messages back to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
Matthew said: “I was delighted to welcome Merijn to Parliament after his long and inspiring journey from Oslo. Deposit Return Schemes have been proven to work, and I’m so pleased that so many colleagues were able to attend to hear about the success of similar schemes across Europe.
"I am very grateful that the Oceans Minister was able to attend and I will be contacting my colleague Rebecca Pow, who is the Minister responsible for this scheme, to pass on Merijn’s messages.
"I hope that we can all work together to finally end the scourge of plastic in our oceans.”