SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has called for the introduction of a Bottle Deposit Return Scheme in Derry.
Mr Durkan has requested meetings with Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and private businesses to explore this important environmental initiative.
He said: “Our 'throw-away' culture is completely unsustainable and our planet is bearing the brunt of it. Recent years have witnessed a growing realisation that actions must be taken by governments, businesses and individuals to address the damage being done to our environment.
"We should be building on the success of the innovative Carrier Bag Levy which has dramatically reduced the amount of plastic swimming in our rivers and strewn in our hedgerows.
“The next big offender we need to tackle is single use drink containers ; empty bottles and cans make up a substantial percentage of the litter on our streets and in our countryside. As Environment Minister, I explored the possibility of implementing a Deposit Return Scheme in Northern Ireland having seen their benefits in other countries. Unfortunately, my attempts were met with some resistance, politically and commercially. However, I believe that, even in the few years since, things have changed - businesses now realise the importance of and indeed the opportunities created by going beyond environmental compliance.
"The British government has recently carried out a consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme, Scotland is moving ahead with theirs and again we in the North run the risk of being left behind - particularly in the absence of a government to drive this forward.
That is why I am looking for Local Government to show leadership and to see what can be done in individual council areas. Derry City and Strabane District Council have already led the way with some environmental initiatives and I believe they have a great opportunity to do so again.
“I will be meeting with officers from Council and NIEA to examine how this initiative can be moved forward in conjunction with local businesses and schools.”