This month our Patron Jeremy Paxman wrote a passionate piece which featured in the Daily Mail, calling for the government to back a plastic bottle deposit return scheme.
Deposit return schemes already exist in many other counties and see customers pay a small cash deposit as part of the price of a drink in a plastic bottle. They get the money back when they return the item to a collection point.
There are strong arguments for supporting a UK deposit return scheme, not least the potential positive impacts on litter, landfill and recycling rates.
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) however have said a policy is “unlikely”, although “not off the table”.
Up until this week a major part part of the challenge was the position of industry and drinks manufacturers who will bear significant cost should a scheme be introduced. However Coca-Cola have now publicly committed to exploring the introduction of a deposit return scheme:
“Our sustainable packaging review is ongoing, but it’s already clear from our conversations with experts that the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit return scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway.
“We’ve also been talking to and listening to our consumers and know two thirds (63%) of them support the introduction of a deposit return system in the UK, and half (51%) say they’d be more likely to recycle as a result. From our experience elsewhere in Europe, we know that deposit schemes can work if they are developed as part of an overall strategy on the circular economy, in collaboration with all industry stakeholders. We are open to exploring any well-thought-through initiative that has the potential to increase recycling and reduce litter.’
We will be keeping close to developments and post updates as progress is made.