Deposit return scheme heads south in Tory pledge

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to introduce an English deposit return scheme (DRS) at the Conservative Party Conference.

The announcement was followed by a new report showing how DRS would impact councils in the UK.

Gove (pictured) said: “We are looking to go further to reduce plastic waste by working with the industry to see how we could introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.”

He added that the system had “already seen great success in other countries, such as Denmark, in curbing plastic pollution”. The Environment Secretary again compared DRS to the implementation of the plastic bag levy, having made similar remarks in August. 

The Department for Environmental and Rural Affairs simultaneously announced a call for evidence regarding DRS in England, and the ACS confirmed it would be taking part.

It is currently unclear how this would work across the UK, with Wales also planning to implement a scheme.

The new report by recycling experts Eunomia was funded by Keep Britain Tidy and unveiled in Parliament last week. It claims councils in England could save £35m alone through a return system, adding pressure on England to follow Scotland’s lead. However, the report did not mention what impact the scheme would have on any other party such as retailers or the public.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England claimed: “There are no longer any valid arguments that DRS doesn’t work.”

However, ACS chief executive James Lowman said the viability of DRS is “unproven” and added that it would have a “significant impact on the convenience sector”.

By Jack Courtez Avatar
By Jack Courtez 13 Oct, 2017

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