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Time to go all-in for a deposit return scheme, says CPRE

9th February 2023

We are reiterating our call for a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme that covers all materials in the wake of the government decision to focus on plastics when the new, much delayed-scheme, is put in place.

After we led the campaign that won a commitment from then environment secretary Michael Gove to implement a DRS in 2018, the government continues to drag its feet. Meanwhile devolved administrations of Wales and Scotland have created their own schemes.

‘Deeply disappointing’

Commenting on the much delayed Deposit Return Scheme, Chris Hinchliff, CPRE’s campaigns manager, said:

‘This is deeply disappointing from the government. A Deposit Return Scheme that doesn’t include glass bottles is weak and an abandonment of yet another manifesto promise.

‘There is nothing remotely difficult about this – it simply requires ministers to stand up to the vested interests of supermarkets determined not to take responsibility for the waste they are knowingly causing. Glass bottles must be included in DRS and retailers must be made to pay the full costs of their highly profitable businesses.

‘The government first announced that it would introduce a DRS way back in 2018. Ministers need to stop watering down the proposals and get on with it. The countryside is paying the price, with discarded bottles and other packaging littering footpaths, fields and streams.’

Harm to people and wildlife

We reiterated our call for an all-in DRS after a major Green Clean litter pick which found that more than 1 in 10 drinks containers volunteers collected were glass – and that figure didn’t include the shattered pieces of glass that volunteers were unable to count. This risks harm to people and wildlife if glass is excluded from a DRS.

Chris added: ‘Supermarkets claim recycling the glass bottles they sell would be “too costly for the system”. But the cost is currently paid by councils and taxpayers. These multibillion pound businesses continue to shirk responsibility because they’re allowed to.’

A school pupil meeting politician Michael Gove
School children explain to the then environment secretary Michael Gove why an all-in deposit return scheme is so important.


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