Defra has launched its long-awaited consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), which sets out two potential options.
The first option, known as the ‘all-in’ model, would target virtually all drinks containers placed on the market, irrespective of size.
The second option, known as the ‘on-the-go’ model, would restrict the drinks containers inscope to those less than 750ml in size and sold in single format containers. This latter model would target drinks most often sold for consumption outside of the home (while ‘on-the–go’).
“This could drive up the recycling of an estimated three billion plastic bottles which are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute streets, countryside and the marine environment,” said the consultation. And Defra claims that DRS schemes already operate successfully in other countries – for example, total return rates of drinks containers in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden are at between 85-98%.
The idea of a DRS for all drinks containers has caused concern among some local authorities, who consider that a DRS targeting materials collected from homes already via existing municipal schemes could disrupt the services and reduce local authority income from their recycling stream. Other concerns have also been raised about the potential of DRS to cause disruption if introduced at the same time as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation.