The UK’s upcoming plastic bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) could cause shoppers to simply switch to larger bottles causing more waste issues, MPs have warned.
Under the DPS, which is set to be implemented in the UK in 2024, consumers will pay a deposit price on top of the usual cost of drinks which they can redeem when they return it to a collection point.
The proposed DRS scheme in Scotland, which is expected to provide the framework for a wider UK rollout a year later, would see customers pay an extra 20p for drinks containers of all sizes.
MPs across the political spectrum have warned that a fixed 20p deposit would make it more economical for customers simply by larger two-litre bottles.
This would simply change the size of the bottle people are buying, rather than incentivise them to deposit used bottles to be recycled and reused.
A group of 19 MPs have signed an early day motion calling on the government to introduce a variable deposit depending on the size of the container.
This model has been used in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden with great efficacy, leading the countries to have recycling rates of above 90 per cent.
“That this House notes that the UK is in the midst of a catastrophic waste crisis and that, according to Keep Britain Tidy, over two million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day … strongly supports the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland that mirrors the tried and tested Nordic model; and calls on the Government to follow the example of these nations and introduce a world-class scheme in 2023,” the motion read.
UK supermarkets including Iceland, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op and Aldi have all been trialing various forms of the DPS scheme, offering coupons in exchange for recycled bottles.
Many have introduced “reverse vending machines” which give out coupons automatically when bottles bought at the retailer are deposited inside.
In August 2019 Iceland, which was the first retailer to adopt the machines as part of its own bottle deposit scheme, celebrated recycling more than one million plastic bottles under the scheme.