Bill Bryson's deposit plan fails to sway drink makers

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drink Recycling

Soft drink manufacturers have branded calls for the adoption of a
nationwide deposit scheme on bottles and beverage cans by a
UK-based environmental charity as unworkable.

The proposed scheme, put forward by writer Bill Bryson, highlights the growing environmental pressure on beverage makers from both government and environmental organisations to ensure more sustainable production and packaging of their goods.

To this end, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says that a 10 pence deposit scheme would provide a strong financial incentive for consumers to return beverage packaging, reducing land waste and littering in the process.

However, a spokesperson the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) claimed that a similar deposit plan had already failed in the UK, and reinstating it would not offer an effective solution to reducing packaging waste.

"What we need to look at is more effective ways of encouraging consumers to recycle their waste and there needs to be a general change in attitude and infrastructure in terms of waste and recycling," the spokesperson stated.

"Questions have also been raised about the effectiveness of deposit schemes in countries such as Germany , so the BSDA does not believe such a system would have the environmental impact desired."

The deposit idea is the brainchild of novelist and the CPRE president Bill Bryson as part of the charity's stop the drop campaign launched yesterday, which aims to increase the level of packaging waste that is recycled.

According to the CPRE, UK households on average dispose of 500 plastic bottles a year, amounting to 13 billion across the country.

Currently, the organisation claims that only 130 of these bottles are being recycled per household, with the other 370 heading into landfills or into the streets and fields of the UK.

By incorporating a 10p deposit on plastic bottles alone, the CPRE says that a family could earn an additional £50 a year for simply returning their empty beverage packaging, ensuring less reason to simply throw the packaging away.

A CPRE spokesperson told that although the charity had not yet received industry support for the scheme, it would be looking to work with both the industry and government as the next step of the plan.

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