Anti-Litter Campaigners Call For Deposit Scheme For Drink Containers

Making consumers pay a refundable deposit for plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans would increase recycling rates and reduce litter, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has claimed. Under its proposed deposit refund scheme, anyone buying a small container would pay a 15p deposit, with a 30p deposit for larger capacity items, which would then be refunded when the container is returned to a shop or collection point.

The CPRE’s report, entitled Have we got the bottle? suggests revenues from the scheme would go a long way to covering its operational costs. The report also states that the initiative would save local authorities £160m per year in waste management costs, as return rates are predicted to rise to up to 90 percent.

“Britain produces 434 million tonnes of waste each year, and we waste £650 million annually by dumping and incinerating waste that could otherwise be recycled,” said Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council. “Recent figures from one of our member associations, Keep Britain Tidy, also revealed that local authorities in England spend more than £858m a year cleaning the litter from our streets. In these austere times, this is a very serious problem and the year-on-year increase in the cost of cleaning up this mess is unsustainable.”

Bottle deposits were commonplace in the UK in the 1980s but fell out of favor when plastic bottles and cans became cheaper and more prevalent. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it welcomed the report and would consider the proposals as part of its ongoing policy review.