Plastic bottle deposit return schemes could save councils £35m a year

According to a new report, councils across England could save £35 million a year if there was an introduction of a deposit return scheme [DRS] for plastic bottles and other drinks containers.

Campaigners have stated that such a scheme would reduce litter and tackle plastic pollution, as experts say that we have reached the point where there could be a “near permanent contamination of the natural environment.”

The report, released by Eunomia and other groups, is based on analysis across eight local authorities and found that individual councils could save between £60,000 and £500,000 each.

Savings could be found via reduced littering and landfill charges.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said:

There is no doubt that introducing a deposit refund system would reduce littering in this country but, until now, there has been a concern that it would have a negative impact on cash-strapped councils.

“This report shows that in fact a DRS would create savings for local government.”

Both Germany and Denmark have DRSs and more than 90 per cent of bottles are returned, whereas in England, only 57 per cent are recycled.

Earlier this month Michael Gove, the environmental secretary, said that he would work with the industry to see how the scheme might be implemented.

During the summer Gove was pressured by opposition parties to introduce  a DRS in England as Nichola Sturgeon announced in September that Scotland was introduced its own.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

There are no longer any valid arguments that DRS doesn’t work. The environmental case is crystal clear.

“For our coasts and countryside, the cost of not taking action will be far greater than any incurred by the parts of industry that are trying to block this.

“Michael Gove can now build on the success of the Government’s plastic bag charge and the ban on microbeads by confirming England will have a deposit system.”

Every day 335 million plastic bottles and 20 million aluminium cans are sold throughout the UK, with the vast quantity of them ending up in landfill sites.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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