New survey finds that 74% of British people would use a deposit return scheme

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A national YouGov poll has found that 74% of British consumers would return plastic bottles and cans under a deposit return scheme (DRS) if they had to pay a 10p deposit on each container. 

The poll, which was commissioned by SUEZ, surveyed over 2,000 adults across Britain, and found that nearly 80% believe that there should be more public recycling bins, while around a quarter of people said they would either ‘always’ or ‘often’ find a suitable recycling bin for plastic bottles and cans. 

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These results show that a national DRS would likely be a success and would see consumers pay a small deposit on recyclable containers and redeem it when they take the container to a secure collection point. 

The findings of the poll were released alongside findings of a new report by SUEZ, which found that the most effective DRS should only target ‘on-the-go’ sized plastic bottles and cans to gain the best return.  

SUEZ, has said that the evidence provided in the report shows that the ideal DRS would: 

  • Target only plastic bottles and aluminium cans smaller than 0.7 litres, which are consumed while ‘on-the-go’ instead of at home, with a refundable deposit of 10p per container 
  • Be owned and operated by manufacturers but provide the chance for local authorities to create a new revenue stream. SUEZ believes a rang of secure, public redemption points is needed, not just reverse-vending machines 
  • Not leave local authorities out of pocket 
  • Allow consumers to donate their deposits to other causes and organisations, rather than as money 
  • Only be one part of a wider system, which would use tools including taxing virgin materials or incentives to use recyclable materials. 

Nearly 40% of people surveyed in the poll admitted that they were mostly likely to put plastic bottles or cans into a general rubbish bin, where they are destined for landfill or incineration if a suitable public recycling bin is not nearby.  

When asked about how they would most like to get back their 10p deposits, just over 50% in the poll said they would rather donate the deposit to charity, public service initiatives or redeem it as retailer reward points, while 40% would instead claim the money.  

The SUEZ report concluded that a 10p deposit may be the right amount to use for a DRS for on-the-go materials and the poll results suggest that the majority of people would be likely to redeem at this rate too.  

SUEZ chief executive officer David Palmer-Jones said: For just 10p a container, we can clean up Britain’s streets and boost our recycling rates to become one of Europe’s best.  

“We believe bringing manufacturers and consumers together under a deposit return scheme will help the nation recycle more bottles and cans, at the same time as reducing litter and improving the cleanliness and quality of materials returned to manufacturers.” 

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