Digital deposit return scheme could save £3.3 billion if implemented

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A digital deposit return scheme (DRS) could reduce the costs of implementation by £3.3 billion, according to a report commissioned by the Digital DRS Industry Working Group.

This digital DRS would work by using existing collection infrastructure at homes, with people using a smartphone app to redeem their deposit. It would be supported by a network of ‘away from home’ collection points.

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In contrast, the proposed DRS would use a wide network of reverse vending machines.

A report undertaken by Resource Futures for the Digital DRS Industry Working Group used the revised Defra Impact Assessment published as part of the consultation.

Over 11 years, the cost of implementation of DRS would be reduced by £3,334 million, while the benefit-to-cost ration is twice as good as an all in DRS scheme.

Digital DRS Industry Working Group spokesperson Eric Randall said: “We believe this research is an important contribution to the debate about implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme and congratulate Resource Futures on a robust exercise which involved high levels of industry engagement on providing data and insight. The Industry Working Group recognises that there is more work to be done on the feasibility of Digital DRS, but the opportunity is clearly there.

“The significance of the potential high financial savings is notable, and we call on Government to support industry in delivering the next stages of technical and social research needed.

“As importantly, we ask Government to ensure that the mechanics of implementation of
Deposit Return currently under development are future-proofed and do not exclude the
potential for introduction of Digital DRS as a delivery mode for Government’s policy
objectives. In particular, we ask for consideration in the drafting of Regulations that will
come forward as part of the implementation of the Environment Bill and that the
procurement and tendering process for the Deposit Management Organisation also do not
exclude the ability to deliver utilising a Digital DRS.”

The report has been submitted to the DRS consultation that ends on 4 June. It can be viewed here https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environment/consultation-on-introducing-a-drs/

Members of the Digital DRS Industry Working Group include: Alupro, Biffa, British Glass, British Plastics Federation, British Retail Consortium (led by The Co-operative Group and ALDI UK), Bryson Recycling, Danone Waters, Diageo, Ocado and RECOUP.

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