‘Our committee is keen to help frame the scheme to ensure it increases recycling and reduces waste, without creating unintended consequences…’
The UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry looking at the introduction of deposit return schemes across the UK. Such schemes aim to incentivise consumers to return packaging to in-store collection points for a financial reward. The schemes tend to focus on the return of drinks bottles, but in theory all types of containers and packaging can be included.
The Committee says that such schemes are operating in around 40 countries and have generally been successful. ‘Typically countries with deposit return schemes for plastic bottles achieve recycling rates of between 80% and 95%,’ the Committee said.
During 2017 it was found that in the UK 5.5 billion plastic bottles went to landfill or were incinerated, leading to the calls for a scheme to help reduce the increasing waste. Following an initial consultation in 2019, a further consultation was promised for 2021 with the possibility of having a deposit return scheme in England by 2023. The Government has proposed a framework for these schemes which might be implemented in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Environmental Audit Committee Chairman Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP said; ‘Our committee is keen to help frame the scheme to ensure it increases recycling and reduces waste, without creating unintended consequences which could undermine the need to minimise the environmental impact of what we consume. I urge those interested in both policy and practical aspects of the scheme to let us know your views.’
The Committee is inviting written submissions, for the Next Steps for Deposit Returns Schemes inquiry until 5th March 2021. Several aspects are covered including: types of waste to be collected, and the impact of any scheme on existing reuse and recycling systems. The Committee’s inquiry will focus on the final design of a deposit return scheme.