A deposit scheme for plastic bottles that would see a small refundable charge placed on the products is being considered by the Government, it is understood.
Consumers would be able to recoup the fee, which could be applied to plastic bottles and drinks cans, by taking their empties to "reverse vending machines".
Environment Secretary Michael Gove commissioned research into introducing a levy on bottles and cans as a means to cut waste, increase recycling and reduce litter, according to the Daily Mail.
A Government source said a deposit scheme was being looked at, although nothing has been decided.
It comes as the World Wildlife Fund warned the amount of plastic waste the UK produces is set to rise by a fifth by the end of the next decade - with a 9% rise in drinks bottles.
According to the Mail, a leaked report says a deposit scheme could would increase collection rates for plastic bottles from around 60% to more than 85%.
It could also reduce littering from bottles and cans by at least 70%, the report says.
Experts say the deposit would have to be at least 15p for it to encourage consumers to return their empties.
The US and Norway are among the countries to have deposit schemes for drinks and cans.