Scotland paved the way in 2022, now it’s time for Wales, England, and Northern Ireland to advance the recycling of plastic bottles and cans through a deposit system. However, implementation will only begin in 2025.
The goal is to decrease the amount of beverage containers waste by at least 85% within three years. This is happening in the UK where the British environment minister, Rebecca Pow, announced the adoption of a deposit system for plastic bottles and cans in Wales, England, and Northern Ireland last Friday.
Unfortunately, implementation won’t occur until 2025 and glass recycling will only be included in Wales. However, this is still an improvement as the initiative has been discussed for over 13 years since the initial proposal made by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Approximately 14 billion plastic bottles, 9 billion cans, and 5 billion glass bottles are consumed annually in the UK.
The deposit system is simple. The consumer purchases a beverage and pays a deposit for the container, which is added to the product price. The deposit is returned to the consumer when they return the plastic or aluminum container to the point of sale.
What will the deposit amount be? The exact amount will be determined by a Depot Management Organization (DMO), which will likely consist of a consortium of retailers, manufacturers, and industry and will be established next year.
Scotland was the pioneer of the initiative, known for its bravery and promptness in embracing certain initiatives. Here, the deposit return system (DRS) began in July 2022.
By implementing the deposit system, the Scottish government aims to increase collection and recycling rates for packaging, reduce the spread of packaging waste into the environment, and decrease CO2 emissions from the supply chain in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2045.