The UK looks likely to adopt a Norway-style system that refunds consumers who recycle their plastic bottles.
A delegation of ministers has visited the country, where government advisers say it has vastly reduced waste.
Norway recycles 97 percent of plastic bottles – double what the UK currently manages to recycle.
In the UK over 35.8 million bottles are consumed each day, with 16 million of these failing to reach plastic recycling facilities.
How it works
Norway’s government put a tax on all plastic bottles that aren’t recycled, then left it to the industry to decide how they cover the costs.
In response companies added a deposit of between 10p and 25p, depending on size, to the cost of plastic bottles.
Consumers can then drop their used bottle off into a machine, which reads the barcode and produces a coupon.
They then show the coupon at the shop and have the deposit refunded, as the bottle has not incurred the government’s additional tax.
In order to ensure bottles can be processed by the machines, only two bottle designs are permitted for the scheme.
There are also approved labels and approved glue for the labels, in order to stop machines malfunctioning.
While manufacturers would have to amend some of their bottle designs to comply, managers of the Norway operation say it could easily be applied to the UK.
Kjell Olav Maldum, chief executive of Infinitum which runs the Norway bottle scheme, told BBC News: “There are other recycling schemes, but we believe ours is the most cost-efficient.
“We think it could be copied in the UK – or anywhere.”
“Our principle is that if drinks firms can get bottles to shops to sell their products, they can also collect those same bottles.”
Small business concerns Some lobby groups representing the industry have raised concerns that it might be bad news for local shopkeepers.
However others argue that it benefits their businesses, by increasing footfall as consumers return to the shop to collect their deposit. Scotland has already agreed to the scheme, with details to be confirmed.