Warwickshire waste experts criticise Government suggestion that all drinks containers should be covered by deposit scheme to boost recycling

The plan, which could be introduced as part of the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament, would see the containers returned to shops or automated vending-type machines

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 10:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 10:30 am

A Government suggestion that all drinks containers should be covered under a deposit scheme in a bid to boost recycling rates has been criticised by Warwickshire’s waste experts.

The deposit return scheme is one element of a national waste strategy currently the subject of consultation with local authorities including the Warwickshire Waste Partnership covering the county's five districts and boroughs.

Richrd Dobbs, North Warwickshire Borough Council’s corporate director of streetscape who sits on the partnership, outlined to the meeting of the community and environment board on Monday (July 26) their feedback and in particular a preference for an ‘on the go’ deposit scheme instead of an ‘all in’ system.

The plan, which could be introduced as part of the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament, would see the containers returned to shops or automated vending-type machines

He explained that ‘on the go’ would effectively deal with anything smaller than a 70cl wine bottle whereby any size drinks container would be part of an ‘all in’ scheme and this would have a financial impact on households.

Mr Dobbs said: “The reason for going for ‘on the go’ is that it tends to be stuff that is littered - the things people take to parks and when they go out and. They are what’s left behind on streets and that sort of thing.

“Larger things tend to be bought for consumption in the home and there is a perfectly adequate recycling system for dealing with those and those, on the whole, don’t tend to be the type of material left on the street or in parks.

“Also if you have to pay a deposit on every single item you buy then that adds quite a lot more to their weekly shop albeit that there is a mechanism to get that money back.”

The plan, which could be introduced as part of the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament, would see the containers returned to shops or automated vending-type machines.

Similar schemes are in place in around 40 other countries and one for plastic drinks bottles in Norway has led to 95 per cent of those items being recycled.

Cllr Denise Clews (Con, Atherstone South and Mancetter) asked how some retailers would deal with the containers, adding: “There’s a really small shop where I live and the only place he could put a recycling thing is outside his shop.”

Mr Dobbs said: “The reverse vending machine is the way that a lot of shopkeepers will probably run their ‘take back’ scheme but the other way is to take them over the counter, hand back the money and store them out the back.

“If that’s the way small shopkeepers are going to do it then they will need the support of local authorities to help with collections.

"They can’t store them for days or weeks at a time as they simply won’t have the space."