The research demonstrates how the scheme would help the government achieve a ‘Zero Waste’ economy by increasing recycling rates, and reducing litter as promised in the coalition’s ‘Programme for Government’.
Critically, at a time of public spending restraint, the report highlights how the scheme would reduce costs to the public sector by £160m per year (or £7 per household), while also securing significant benefits in reducing litter.
Bill Bryson, CPRE president, says: “These findings throw rational and informed light on an issue that is nonsensically contentious in the UK. What sensible nation wouldn’t want to capture and recycle its precious and finite resources? What discerning people wouldn’t want to enjoy a litter-free environment?
“CPRE has published this research to reignite the debate, so that an effective mechanism which delivers environmental and social benefits in many other countries can be given its proper consideration in the UK.”
The new research report – Have we got the bottle? Implementing a deposit refund scheme in the UK – was prepared by research consultants Eunomia Research & Consulting. It shows that a sensibly implemented DRS would deliver environmental benefits well in excess of the costs of implementation. The report suggests a deposit of 15p for containers smaller than 500ml and 30p for those larger would generate return rates of around 90%.
Samantha Harding, CPRE Stop the Drop campaign manager, says: “The UK has a serious litter problem and the year on year increase in the cost of clearing it up has become unsustainable. We need to look at new ways of tackling litter and changing behaviours. Our research shows that a deposit refund scheme would reduce litter and increase rates of recycling, while at the same time reducing public sector spending on waste.
“A deposit refund scheme supports anti-litter messages with sound financial incentives. The principle behind this idea is that the polluter pays. The small minority of people who drop litter or can’t be bothered to recycle will end up footing the bill. Under this proposal, the government doesn’t pay and responsible consumers don’t pay.
“There are huge potential benefits to introducing a deposit refund scheme. We’ve modelled a scheme that’s easy and convenient to use, and cost-effective to deliver for government and consumers.”
Source: Campaign to Protect Rural England
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