Results in from Welsh digital deposit return scheme

Residents and visitors to Brecon in Wales recently took part in the world's first full-town digital deposit return scheme.

The results from the DDRS Scan|Recycle|Reward trial are now in and show high levels of engagement. 18,794 rewards were claimed, the equivalent of more than four per household.

The trial was led by DDRS Alliance with support from Welsh Government, Powys County Council, WRAP’s Collaborative Change Programme and local retailers.

It was different from a traditional deposit return scheme, in that it trialled technology that digitally scans the drinks containers, meaning deposits can even be reclaimed from the comfort of people’s homes. The trial was reward-based, with residents claiming a 10p reward when returning eligible containers.

Usually with this kind of scheme, people are charged a deposit on drinks container which then must be taken back to a retailer or to a reverse vending machine to reclaim the deposit.

There were four possible return methods including kerbside and in community bins, which required access to a smartphone. Automated return points had the option of using a smart phone. Over the counter returns did not require a smart phone.

Thos running the trial say the high level of participation shows that people in Wales are open to using a digital deposit return scheme in the future.

The results show that 58 per cent of all returned containers came through the household weekly recycling collections and 97.6 per cent of all containers returned at home were captured in the recycling stream.

56 per cent of participants surveyed said they would recommend the scheme in the future.

Cabinet secretary for climate change, Huw Irranca-Davies said: "I’d like to thank the people of Brecon for taking part in the Digital Deposit Return Scheme trial – their willingness to get involved will help develop our plans for the DRS across Wales.

"This trial will support our ongoing work into DDRS and help build on our already world class recycling rates. Our aim is to move to a more circular economy where resources are reused and recycled rather than being wasted."

Matt Perry, Powys County Council’s chief officer said: "The residents, visitors and retailers of Brecon thoroughly embraced their involvement in this innovative trial, and it was encouraging to witness everyone’s enthusiasm and willingness to give the digital technology a go. The results show for themselves how a digital version of the traditional return deposit schemes could easily be incorporated into the already established weekly kerbside collections services offered by most local authorities making life easier for citizens to return containers whilst also keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum."