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How a deposit return system works

How a deposit return system works Stephen Depolo/Flickr

In the exciting discussions that have taken place over the last few weeks about bottle deposits, there has been some confusion about how the return system works.

A deposit return system does not mean you get money from retailers for taking back your bottle. Nor does it mean you pay an extra 10 or 15p for a bottle in the first place.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is keen to outline how these systems could work here, and why they should be implemented:

“A bottle deposit is like any other deposit. It is money that you get back.

“For example: if you buy a bottle of beer from your local supermarket, or a single plastic bottle from your newsagents on a hot day, you hand over 15p per bottle at the till. Then, when you return your bottle to a recycling point at your local supermarket or shopping centre, you get your 15p back.

“As long as you return your bottle, you don’t pay any more for it.

“Some retailers claim that this will adversely affect them, but then it does not cost them any more – at any point – either.

“In many countries around the world, this is normal practice. When you go to a shop or supermarket you take your bottles with you, scan them through a machine, and get your money back. And in countries where the deposit system exists, bottle recycling has increased massively. In Germany 98.5% percent of bottles are recycled.

“When our marine life has to swim through oceans of deadly plastic, and when bottles pollute our rivers, streets and countryside, surely we can do more to tackle bottle waste. A deposit return system is the best and most effective way to start.”

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