Reverse vending machine (RVM) manufacturer Tomra has warned that a UK-wide deposit return scheme (DRS) that only included small bottles and cans would “majorly stifle” the initiative.
The company supported the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), which highlighted the variety of litter on UK streets.
CPRE research found that out of more than 11,200 cans and bottles its volunteers collected, 50% were aluminium, 35% plastic, 14% glass and 1% Tetra Pak. These came in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Tomra said the case had “never been stronger” to incorporate all sizes of drinks containers in a DRS, which environment secretary Michael Gove has said will be legislated for in 2020. Plans are expected to be outlined in the forthcoming resources and waste strategy, followed by a consultation.
Managing director Tomra Collection Solutions UK & Ireland Truls Haug said: “CPRE predicts that the introduction of a DRS will spark a recycling revolution and based on our global experience we agree it has this potential – but we have found that the wider the scope of products included in the DRS, the higher the overall recycling rates.
“There is a school of thought that DRS should be reserved for smaller, on-the-go sized beverage containers but we believe this would majorly stifle the potential of the initiative.
“Imposing too many restrictions also has the potential to cause confusion and inconvenience for consumers. In our experience, the fewer barriers there are in place, the better the potential for success – which could be boosting recycling rates for drinks container waste to more than 90 per cent.
“We hope Scotland and England alike will give serious consideration to the case against the introduction of an on-the-go model before deciding the best way to proceed.”
Tomra is the largest manufacturer of RVMs in Europe.
Gove used one of the company’s machines earlier this year, which had been taken to Parliament as part of a demonstration.