Axion Group has welcomed plans for an ‘all in’ deposit return scheme (DRS) covering drinks containers.
The company believes that this will be a positive move to encourage greater volumes of waste plastic into the recycling stream.
Additionally, the all-in DRS plan would remove the need for brands to offer discounted alternatives not included in the plan, such as water in aluminium cans.
Head of consulting at Axion, Richard McKinlay, pointed out that such alternatives might have a negative environmental impact.
The support for a DRS scheme follows comments made by Environment secretary Michael Gove, who said: “I think a deposit return scheme is needed, especially from a quality point of view, to ensure we’ve got a high-quality, food-grade PET stream that allows recycling back into the highest quality applications."
There are concerns that an all-in plan would see consumers returning containers to point of purchase for a deposit return. This would result in reduced volumes of PET bottles in household recycling collections, cutting the value of council recyclate and disincentivising collection and sorting.
While this would require MRFs to invest in better sorting processes, McKinlay says any loss would be more than off-set by a new stream of high-quality rPET into the market. That, though, will require investment to increase material recycling volumes.
As a final point, McKinaly said: “This initiative shouldn’t be seen as removing value from local authorities. Although there may be some impact, the bigger picture is that more material overall will be recycled back into high quality products.
“DRS should be implemented as part of a broader reform of how we manage and recycle packaging waste, which should include Extended Producer Responsibility to remove the cost burden from local authorities."