A money-back scheme on drinks bottles to help increase recycling is being considered by Environment Minister Edwin Poots.
And in a move to boost the reuse of packaging material, he is also looking at a fee-based scheme to encourage producers to design and use packaging that is easier to re-use and/or recycle.
“With a shocking 1.3 million items of litter on our streets at any one time almost half of that littered packaging including drink cans, plastic bottles, confectionery and crisp wrappers we need to move now to tackle this problem," Minister Poots said. “So today, alongside England and Wales, I am launching a consultation on options for a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers including glass bottles, aluminium and steel cans and PET plastic bottles. In this type of scheme the public will be able to recoup a deposit for return of drinks containers through reverse vending machines or directly through retailers. We know from a previous consultation there is overwhelming public support for the deposit return scheme, which should make it easy for consumers to return drinks containers for recycling and also reduce littering. In countries with existing schemes the return rates can be 85-98% for collection and recycling of plastic drinks containers. The scheme can create high-value, uncontaminated recycling streams which should advantage UK producers and incentivise investment in the sector.”