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Deposit return scheme 'must go beyond plastic'

Any deposit return scheme (DRS) must be set up to handle containers of all kinds, environmental campaigners have warned.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said its findings showed that despite the Government’s emphasis on plastic bottles, drinks containers made from aluminium and glass were also dangers to wildlife and the countryside.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said earlier this year that he would seek to introduce a DRS to encourage the recycling of drinks containers.

The CPRE said its volunteer litter pickers at 35 sites had found 11,212 cans and bottles of all shapes, sizes and materials. Of these, 50% were aluminium, 35% plastic, 14% glass and 1% Tetra Pak.

“While plastic packaging has been making the headlines, this data shows that two-thirds of all drinks containers littered are made from other materials – such as aluminium and glass – and should be taken just as seriously,” the group said.

It added that the Government should ensure all cans and bottles, of all types and sizes, were included in England’s DRS.

CPRE litter programme director Samantha Harding said:Deposit return infrastructure is the same for large plastic bottles as it would be for small plastic bottles, cans and glass. Failing to set the system up to collect all that it can will set the system up to fail.”


What CPRE found among the litter


Plastic bottles

71% - 500ml

10% - less than 500ml

10% - 501ml – 1.5-litre

9% - 1.5-litre and larger



53% - more than 330ml

29% - 330ml

18% - less than 330ml


Glass bottles

42% - 330-750ml

33% - more than 750ml

25% - less than 330ml



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