Deposit refund scheme could save councils millions

Local authorities could annually save up to £35 million if a deposit refund system (DRS) for drinks containers was introduced in England, a new report claims.

Every day 35 million plastic bottles and 20 million aluminium cans are sold across the UK, with many ending up as litter or in landfill sites. It is believed that the introduction of a simple deposit on plastic bottles and cans can raise collection rates above 90 per cent and reduce littering.

Impacts of a Deposit Refund System for one-way beverage packaging on Local Authority waste services analysed data from across eight local authorities, including those with high and low recycling rates, and found that the individual authorities could potentially make savings of between £60,000 and £500,000.

The savings made from having fewer containers to collect and sort, as well as reduced levels of littering and reduced landfill charges will actually create savings that outweigh the loss of revenue.

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.”

The report was jointly commissioned by: Keep Britain Tidy; Campaign to Protect Rural England; Marine Conservation Society; Surfers Against Sewage; Reloop; and Melissa and Stephen Murdoch.

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