Bottle deposit results ‘uncertain’, minister claims

Posted on 3rd May, 2016

The minister responsible for resources and waste has again dragged his heels over the potential for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England.

Defra minister Rory Stewart said in a written statement that ‘uncertainties’ existed over the policy proposal, after he was asked to offer his thoughts on such a scheme being introduced as part of the government’s litter strategy.

Bottles (credit AG Barr)

Reluctance in England comes after ministers in Scotland have expressed a desire to pursue the policy, which would see a cost levied on the sale of drinks containers such as aluminium cans or plastic bottles, which can be refunded to consumers when they are returned to a collection point.

Mr Stewart added that research carried out by the Scottish Government, when looking into the proposal, led to further questions over the impacts and benefits that a deposit return system would have.

He said: “This work showed that introducing a deposit return system may increase recycling and reduce litter, but might impose additional costs on businesses, consumers and local authorities (which would lose revenue from recycling). However, we are lacking evidence to appropriately quantify these benefits and costs. The current approach has driven a significant increase in packaging waste recycling rates, from less than 47% in 2003 to nearly 65% in 2013.”