The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has backed a comprehensive ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme (DRS), saying it’s a ‘no-brainer’ for the economy.
In backing the plan, the CPRE stated that an all-in DRS would deliver eight times the economic benefit of a ‘watered down’ system (limited to bottle sizes 750ml and less).
Of the two systems currently proposed by Defra (the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs), an all-in scheme could generate £2bn for the economy over 10 years, according to the government’s own impact assessment.
This compares to just £250m generated by an ‘on the go’ system, which it is said would collect just a fraction of the drinks containers produced.
Speaking about the DRS proposals, Maddy Haughton-Boakes, litter campaigner at CPRE, said: “This is yet more evidence of the positive impact that a deposit return system will have on the whole of society.
“Taking us towards a circular economy, we will recycle almost all of the drinks cans and bottles we consume, slow down the depletion of scarce resources and reduce carbon emissions, all of which will have a lasting positive impact for our countryside and environment.”
The benefits from an all-in system combine reductions in waste sent to landfill, litter collection, reduced air and water pollution and lower carbon emissions due to reduced usage of virgin materials.
The charity, which has been campaigning for a DRS for more than 10 years, says that an all-encompassing DRS would boost recycling rates to 90%. Any watering down the system would be ‘a huge missed opportunity’.
In response, the Guardian reported that the British Retail Consortium is pushing for the government to delay any national DRS, saying that it is unrealistic that it could be delivered in two years.
Further, the BRC says that glass should not be included due to the high cost and health and safety risks.
The BRC has questioned whether a DRS programme is needed, due to measures which will see producers and retailers pay for the cost of recycling collections.
In May, Scotland Secretary for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham, outlined plans for an all-in DRS across the country, based on a 20p deposit applied to PET and glass bottles and aluminium cans.
Overseen by a non-profit organisation, all retailers and consumers would be obliged to participate in the Scottish DRS scheme.