Deposit Return Scheme will achieve 'very little', warns Institute of Economic Affairs

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
The IEA report found a DRS is expected to cost almost £1 billion to set up
Please, is Chris Snowdon talking about “bottle deposit scheme” or “ Can deposit scheme” references ...

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A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is a very expensive way of achieving very little, a new briefing from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has revealed.

The report found that a UK-wide DRS is expected to cost almost £1 billion to set up and £814 million per year to collect recyclables worth just £37 million.

According to Defra’s Impact Assessment, a DRS would reduce litter clean-up costs by £50 million and produce greenhouse gas emissions savings worth £12 million.

While DRS is expected to increase recycling rates, the IEA report claimed it is unlikely to recover more than an extra 10-15% of beverage containers.

It therefore argued that government is ignoring significant costs to consumers of collecting and returning their containers for a small reduction in littering.

The IEA recommended that a DRS should be abandoned unless a more robust economic case can be made.

If government goes ahead, it suggested containers over 500ml should be excluded as they would likely be recycled at kerbside.

Glass bottles should also be excluded, according to the IEA, because they have a low value in the recycling market.

Instead, the IEA recommended better street bins to make on-the-go recycling easier.

Chris Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at IEA, said: “A bottle deposit scheme is a nice idea in principle, but it doesn’t make economic sense. It is a loss-making enterprise which consumers will ultimately pay for.”

Defra is currently consulting on a potential DRS for England.

Retailers Iceland, Tesco and LEON have all set up trial reverse vending machines in their stores.


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Please, is Chris Snowdon talking about “bottle deposit scheme” or “ Can deposit scheme” references to his last statement. Quoted from the article “ A bottle deposit scheme is a nice idea ..... but it is a loss making enterprise....”

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