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Can we drive down waste with the plastic bottle deposit scheme?

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Date posted: 1st December 2017

Yes, we believe we can!

In 2016, only 57 per cent of plastic bottles sold in the UK were collected for recycling. We don’t know about you, but we want to see this figure increase!

The government is considering the introduction of a plastic deposit scheme. This ‘reward and return’ scheme will see consumers buy the contents of the bottle, but will only borrow the bottle itself. The consumer will make a small deposit, which is paid on top of the drink but is fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned. This bottle can then be recycled or even better, reused!

By adding a value to something currently treated as worthless, it is hoped the consumers’ opinion on plastic bottles will change, so eventually they will view bottles as a valuable resource and not just waste.

As an example, glass bottles have, over the centuries, been used, cleaned, refilled and reused over and over. Plastic replaced glass in the mid-late 20th century because it is cheaper, durable and lighter and following this introduction, glass bottle deposit schemes have become almost non-existent. For example, after 100 years, Irn-Bru ceased its scheme in 2015!

So, what could be the benefits of the plastic bottle deposit scheme? It could:

  • Help to protect our oceans and marine life from plastic waste
  • Reduce the amount of waste which enters our waterways
  • Save England’s councils £35 million a year by reducing recycling bin collections and landfill charges

This new incentivised way of returning plastic bottles for reuse could really drive down waste, as well as the cost of making new bottles or recycling used plastic!

Do you feel that the plastic bottle deposit scheme will make a difference to your perceptions of waste? Let us know by tweeting us, @RPS_Limited.

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