The public supports a deposit return scheme for drinks, cans and bottles

26th July 2019

Our survey shows that 72% of people support the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return scheme.

In June 2019 we created an online survey, run by national polling organisation YouGov, and asked 3,386 adults in the UK their views. And the results are overwhelming: almost three-quarters (72%) of you would support a deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic and glass drinks bottles and aluminium cans being rolled out across the whole of the UK.

In summer 2019, the former environment secretary, Michael Gove, gave his backing to an all-in DRS that includes all drinks containers of all materials and sizes. In his speech, Mr Gove said that he believed ‘an all-in model would give consumers the greatest possible incentive to recycle’.

Naturally we support this approach, and our survey findings show that you do too. Now we’re keen for the current environment secretary to build on this and make a formal government commitment to introduce a DRS that would put a stop to the environmental damage caused by drinks containers.

Maddy Haughton-Boakes, a CPRE campaigner, said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people have shown such high levels of support for the scheme before it’s even been introduced. A DRS will transform the way we deal with waste, boost recycling and, as a result, finally put a stop to the harm that drinks containers are causing our countryside, environment and wildlife’.

The Scottish government is ahead of us, and has already committed to introduce a DRS for glass, plastic, steel and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes. And we know that a scheme like this can transform recycling levels. Countries that already have effective deposit return schemes in place, such as Norway, achieve recycling rates as high as 95% for this type of waste. But here in the UK, overall recycling has plateaued at around 45%. It’s time to change – and like you, we want to see a comprehensive scheme in place. We’ll keep working hard to make this happen – and you can support us.

Gloved hand sorting through bottles
A CPRE volunteer sorts the many items of litter collected during a Green Clean event