Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers moves a step closer

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced today that a new deposit refund scheme will make it easier for tens of millions of people to recycle their plastic bottles and cans.

The new plan, through small cash deposits placed in single-use beverage containers, will encourage people to recycle beverage bottles and cans, likely reducing garbage and plastic pollution, detailed in a consultation response. I’m here.

The scheme involves special machines known as reverse vending machines and designated locations where people can return their bottles and receive cash back. In most cases, the return point is hosted by a retailer selling beverages covered by the scheme.

Each year, UK consumers pass through an estimated 14 billion plastic bottles and 9 billion beverage cans, many of which are thrown away or end up in landfills.

A new scheme covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be introduced in 2025 after extensive work with the industry to prepare for the necessary changes, including infrastructure setup and display fixes. Three years after launch, we aim to reduce beverage container waste by 85%.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

We want to help people who want to do the right thing to stop polluting our green spaces and damaging the plastic floating in our oceans and rivers. .

That’s why we’re taking advantage of powers from groundbreaking environmental legislation to introduce a refund policy for beverage containers.

This will provide a simple and effective system across the country to help people reduce and recycle waste more easily, even while on the move.

The UK Government will work with decentralized administrations and industry to push forward the scheme offerings. A response to the consultation published today (January 20, 2023) showed that 83% of respondents were in favor of the new system.

Germany, Finland and Norway have recycling rates of over 90%, and international examples show that deposit return schemes can become a simple part of everyday life and facilitate recycling. The current recycling rate for UK beverage containers is around 70%.

Once the scheme is operational, a target has been set to collect at least 85% of returnable beverage containers.

Following today’s announcement, the focus now shifts to the submission of legislation and the commencement of the process of appointing a Deposit Management Body, an independent industry-led entity to be set up to operate the scheme. The deposit amount shall be determined by the Deposit Management Organization.

Dusan Stojankic, Coca-Cola’s vice president of operations in the UK and Ireland, said:

We strongly welcome today’s commitment by the Government to introduce deposit refund schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Coca-Cola has long sought a well-designed return-of-deposit scheme that would work seamlessly across the UK, reducing waste and allowing more packaging to be collected and recycled at the highest quality.

The plan outlined by DEFRA is a step towards achieving just that. We work closely with authorities, retailers, and industry-wide peers to ensure that the scheme is easy to use for consumers while delivering the best possible environmental outcomes.

Gavin Partington, Executive Director of the British Soft Drink Association, said:

We welcome Defra’s commitment to introduce an all-in can/PET deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. helps consumers do their part to ensure that the containers they purchase are returned for recycling. We look forward to working with the authorities to ensure their success.

These plans build on our commitment to ending avoidable plastic waste. Last week, the UK government announced that from October 2023, single-use plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and food and drink containers (including cups) made from foamed and extruded polystyrene will be banned. Announced.

The UK government has already introduced a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, restrictions on the supply of single-use plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs, and a world-leading plastic packaging tax introduced last year.

Meanwhile, our single-use plastic barrier charges have successfully reduced sales by over 97% in major supermarkets.

Through environmental legislation, the UK government has introduced a range of measures to tackle plastic pollution and waste, including:

  • Our Extended Producer Responsibility scheme means that producers of packaging are expected to bear the costs of packaging recycling and disposal.
  • A consistent recycling collection scheme for all UK homes and businesses ensures more plastic is recycled.
  • Plastic pollution is a global problem and governments are committed to working with international partners to tackle it. So the UK was proud to back an ambitious resolution at the UN Environment Assembly that started negotiations for a legally-binding treaty to end plastic pollution.

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