Almost three-quarters of Britons would support a nationwide deposit return system for plastic and glass drinks bottles and aluminium cans, a survey has found.
The results follow the announcement last week during a speech at London’s Kew Gardens by Michael Gove, then environment secretary, in which he expressed support for a comprehensive deposit return system. In his speech, Gove suggested that “an ‘all-in’ model will give consumers the greatest possible incentive to recycle”.
The all-in model would see a small charge added to the cost of drinks containers made from glass, PET plastic, aluminium and steel. When the empty container is returned to a collection point to be recycled, the charge would be refunded.
In Scotland, the government has already committed to introduce a deposit system for glass, steel and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes.
A third of people surveyed by YouGov for the Campaign to Protect Rural England believe that the UK-wide system should be just as comprehensive as Scottish system. The survey also found that 39% of people believe the UK-wide system should include more materials, such as drinks cartons and pouches.
Maddy Haughton-Boakes, litter campaigner for CPRE, said: “With Michael Gove having thrown his weight behind a truly ‘all-in’ deposit return system, and with the Scottish government’s decision to introduce one earlier this year, this latest wave of public support is surely all the evidence needed for the government to get this over the line.”
Norway has already established an effective deposit system that has led to the country achieving a recycling rate for this type of waste as high as 95%, while recycling rates in other countries have also risen after introducing similar schemes. In the UK, overall recycling has plateaued at around 45%.
A deposit system could change this. This month, the CPRE reported that an “all-in” deposit return system could generate £2bn for the economy over 10 years, as detailed in the government’s own impact assessment. This economic boost would come from a reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill, fewer littered drinks containers and associated cleanup costs, reduced air and water pollution, and less carbon emissions caused by the extraction and production of raw materials needed to produce new drinks containers.
Haughton-Boakes said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people have shown such high levels of support for the scheme before its even been introduced.
“A deposit return system will transform the way we deal with waste, boost recycling and as a result, finally put a stop to the harm that drinks containers are causing our countryside, environment and wildlife.”