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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Majority support calls for deposit return scheme

Almost three-quarters of Britons back a national deposit return scheme (DRS) for drink containers, a survey has found. The results followed an announcement last month by Michael Gove, then environment secretary, in which he expressed support for a comprehensive DRS. In his speech, Gove said an ‘all-in’ model would give consumers the greatest possible incentive to recycle. His successor, Theresa Villiers, is expected to give her backing to the plan. An all-in system would involve a small charge being added to the cost of drinks containers made from glass, PET plastic, aluminium and steel. When the empty containers are returned to collection points to be recycled, the charge would be refunded.

In Scotland, the government has already committed to a deposit system for glass, steel and aluminium drinks containers.
The latest survey was commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which believes an ‘all-in’ DRS could generate £2 billion for the economy, over ten years.

Maddy Haughton-Boakes, of the CPRE, said it was fantastic that so many people have shown such high levels of support for the scheme before it’s even been introduced.
“A (DRS) will transform the way we deal with waste, boost recycling and, as a result, finally put a stop to the harm that drinks containers are causing our countryside, environment and wildlife. We urge Theresa Villiers to hit the ground running in her new role as Environment Secretary.”

Haughton-Boakes called for the “most effective system in the world”, one that includes “every single drinks bottle, can, carton or pouch of every size and material.”

She also urged the government not to “give in to attempts to water down the system for vested corporate interests.”

Currently, only about four in ten of the estimated 35 million plastic bottles and 20 million aluminium cans used daily are collected and recycled. 

The Government has indicated a DRS could be up and running by 2023. Scotland appears to be further ahead with its own plans to launch a system, which would involve a returnable fee of 20p. Germany introduced such a scheme in 2003 and currently recycles 99 percent of its plastic bottles. However, not everyone supports the move. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) believes the current system works well and could be improved further if there were consistent recycling policies across all local authorities.

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