Eunomia Calls For UK-Wide Deposit Return Scheme

Following Michael Gove’s appeal for views on how a “reward and return” scheme for plastic bottles would work in England, Eunomia has suggested a UK-wide scheme should be considered.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove this week issued a call for evidence on how a DRS for drinks containers could work in England.

To improve the amount of plastic finding its way into the world’s oceans and to increase recycling, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has asked organisations and individuals to share their views with the government on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of reward and return schemes for plastic, metal and glass drinks containers that could help reduce the number of bottles entering our waterways.

“It makes sense now to consider a scheme which works across the UK, or at the very least, across England, Scotland and Wales.”

The call for evidence opens for four weeks and ministers have asked the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group, set up as part of the Litter Strategy, to accelerate its work and report back early in the New Year.

The news follows the recent announcement that the Scottish Government has committed to implementing a DRS for drinks packaging.

Dominic Hogg, chairman of Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd, an international consultancy that has carried out feasibility studies into deposit return schemes (DRS) in other countries, said a UK-wide scheme should be considered.

Dominic said: “We welcome Michael Gove’s recent announcement regarding his intention to introduce a deposit refund scheme. We believe this will help to increase recycling of beverage containers, reduce the extent of littering – on land and in the sea – by over a million containers per day, and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Another positive spin-off will be that better-quality material will be collected for recycling, encouraging local processing of the collected materials.

“With Scotland having already announced its intentions in this regard, and Wales and Northern Ireland considering the same, it makes sense now to consider a scheme which works across the UK, or at the very least, across England, Scotland and Wales. The scheme’s design needs to capture the best features of overseas schemes so as to combine efficient scheme delivery with high levels of performance.”


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