Deposit Return Schemes

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th February 2022.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the benefits of introducing a Digital Deposit Return Scheme, through which consumers could recycle drinks containers via kerbside collections using unique barcodes to reclaim deposits, and (2) the potential for incorporating a digital element into their existing proposals for a deposit return scheme.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We consulted last year on how a deposit return scheme (DRS) might operate. The consultation set out information on a return to retailer model similar to those used successfully in other countries and we also asked for information on digital systems that could be used for a DRS.

The technology for a digital DRS is not yet available at the scale required for full implementation but we are aware of trials and research in the digital field. As these progress, we hope to be able to access more information concerning the practicalities and feasibility of using this technology, most notably in ensuring the scheme continues to deliver on its objectives, particularly with regard to improving the quality of material collected. While a return to retailer model forms our main proposal for a DRS at this stage, we remain interested to see and encourage innovation in DRS.

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