Charity calls for 10p bottle deposit to reduce litter

By Paul Heaney
BBC News

media captionGareth Clubb from Friends of the Earth said the idea had many advantages

Environmental campaigners are calling on the Welsh government to introduce a 10p deposit on bottles, cans and cartons.

Charity Friends of the Earth Cymru said it could help to reduce litter.

Earlier this year, a report for the Scottish government said there were no major obstacles to introducing a "deposit refund scheme".

But opponents said it would not work in the UK and consumers would end up paying more.

The Welsh government said it was working with its Scottish counterparts, which is carrying out a feasibility study, to see whether such a scheme would work here.

Gareth Clubb from Friends of the Earth said other countries had used reverse vending machines to take back material.

"They're in supermarkets, petrol stations, all around the place - it's very convenient to take their bottles and cans back," he added.

Friends of the Earth said very small retailers would likely be exempt.

image captionIn the past, there was a deposit scheme for Corona bottles

But Jane Bickerstaffe, from the Industry Council for Research on Packaging and the Environment, said Wales was recycling an increasing amount of its waste through weekly bin collections.

She said asking consumers to take some of that recycling back to the shop was a pointless expense.

"We're not anti the system - in parts of the world it can work for different reasons - in countries in the UK it won't work because there are too many unintended consequences.

"You're imposing a parallel system that actually detracts from the one that's already working… that's two sets of lorries taking recycling back to the same place."

In an internal document obtained by BBC News, the charity Keep Wales Tidy, which advises the Welsh government, said "the time is now right" for the consideration of a deposit return scheme.

Similar schemes have existed in the past, with deposit schemes for Corona pop bottles, made in Rhondda Cynon Taff, and Lowes of Cardiff.

Consumers of Irn-Bru can still take empty glass bottles to shops for cash, but that scheme is due to end this year.

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