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Defra to report on deposit return schemes ‘early next year’

Deposit return scheme

A working group set up by Defra to look at the feasibility of setting up bottle deposit return schemes is to convene “very shortly”, with a report expected to be published next year.

Defra minister Lord Gardiner said the Voluntary and Economic Measures Working Group, which was announced under the Government’s litter strategy in April, would “study the potential effectiveness of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers”.

The group will include drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola, which recently announced a U-turn on its opposition to deposit return schemes.

Speaking at a House of Lords debate, Lord Gardiner said: “We want to set up that group very shortly and I am looking forward to its report early in the new year.”

He also backed the use of incineration during the debate.

In response to concerns from Green peer Baroness Jones that “far too much” waste goes for incineration in the UK, Lord Gardiner admitted that more needed to be recycled.

But he said: “Obviously, some incineration is the generation of power. In fact, whether it is anaerobic digestion of food waste or use of an incinerator, if we are clever about it, we can use those resources to our advantage.”

Coca-Cola unveiled a sustainable packaging strategy on 12 July, which includes targets to double use of recycled plastic in its bottles to 50% by 2020 and a policy to promote deposit return schemes.

In 2014, drinks manufacturer AG Barr ended its 110-year-old deposit return scheme for glass bottles after a reduction in customers using the scheme.

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