The government of Wales and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland is seeking views on proposals to introduce a deposit-return scheme (DRS) for single-use beverage containers, including glass and plastic bottles and cans.
Early 2018, the government of the United Kingdom introduced a U.K.-wide approach that would increase recycling rates for used beverage containers in the country. Before moving forward with the plan, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations, which can decide on policy separately, are consulting producers, suppliers and consumers to understand how the system would work and impact people and the environment.
The cost of deposit would be included in the price of the beverage when purchased. The deposit refund, such as 10 cents, would be indicated on the container or label and redeemed when consumers return their empty drink containers to a designated return point. Deposit-return schemes have increased recycling of beverage containers to 90 percent in some states.
According to the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Wales has increased recycling of plastic bottles to 75 percent through curbside collections. The government is undertaking “additional targeted engagement” to understand how a deposit return plan would impact local authority collection and citizens’ grocery bills, as well as carbon emissions from increased transport and movement.
The consultation closes in May. The Welsh government will consider responses before deciding on whether to implement the plan in Wales. DEFRA is managing the 12-week consultation process on behalf of both Wales and Northern Ireland.
A summary of responses to the consultation will be published on the government websites.