Challenges posed by an ‘all-in’ DRS

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Manufacturers have voiced their criticisms for Michael Gove's deposit return scheme
Manufacturers have voiced their criticisms for Michael Gove's deposit return scheme

Related tags Packaging

Former environment secretary Michael Gove has been accused of attempting to rush through an ‘all-in’ model for a UK deposit return scheme (DRS), with powers to set up such a scheme now widely expected to form part of the imminent Environment Bill.

As part of a wide-ranging speech at London’s Kew Gardens in mid-July, Gove put his weight behind an ‘all-in’ scheme that would reward consumers for returning all types of beverage bottle. “I believe an ‘all-in’ model will give consumers the greatest possible incentive to recycle,” ​he said.

Some manufacturers, such as soft drinks firm Britvic, are in favour of a “well-designed​” system. “Britvic’s view is that a GB-wide scheme should include all sizes of can and PET​ [polyethylene terephthalate] bottle – not just smaller ‘on-the-go’ units,” sustainability director Trystan Farnworth told Food Manufacture.

Hygiene challenge

“Glass should not be included, as this may negatively impact glass recycling rates, and neither should milk or milk-based drinks, which pose a hygiene challenge,”​ he said.

Meanwhile, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) called for any decision on a DRS, of whatever kind, to be deferred until more research had been carried out, and until it was clear what impact more consistent local authority collections and changes to Extended Producer Responsibility have had.

“If a DRS were to be introduced, we’d prefer it to be purely for on-the-go,”​ said LARAC chair Carole Taylor. “A lot of producers are unhappy with a DRS, and certainly an all-in DRS.”

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