According to insight leaked earlier this week, feverish meetings between government and industry bodies have concluded that the already delayed start date for the roll-out of the UK’s deposit return scheme is looking even more like a ‘non-starter’, with 2026 now proposed as the earliest likely alternative.
However, while frustrations continue to build across the supply chain and calls for a fundamental rethink of proposals gain increasing momentum, are we unwittingly designing a system that will not, when it’s eventually implemented, be effective? Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, believes so.
“Developed with the ambition of further driving recycling rates, as well as reducing litter and plastic pollution, the implementation of a well-designed scheme provides a once in a generation opportunity to revolutionise the circular economy of drinks containers,” comments Tom. “This is not a throw away initiative for the short-term, it’s a major shake-up of policy, industry and recycling behaviour that will affect every part of the packaging supply chain, environmental groups and – most importantly – consumers.
“We should be welcoming new and innovative solutions that have the potential to increase recycling rates and embrace the circular packaging economy of tomorrow. After all, the considered roll-out of a well-designed deposit return scheme has a real opportunity to drive fundamental change.
“While I’m not suggesting for one minute that the long and drawn-out process we’ve seen has been good, littered as it has been with delays and change, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Indeed, regardless of when the scheme is finally introduced, we should see it as a real positive and work hard to maximise its long-term impact.
“Some remain adamant on criticism and negativity but, throughout this continued period of discussion and collaboration regarding how best to roll-out the system, Alupro is committed to engaging with each of the governments across the UK – as well as the emergent scheme administrators – to ensure that the system embraces all the elements needed for it to be a success.
“Despite further delays, it’s really positive to see decisions being made that will deliver the best results. Continued support for a scheme including metal cans, plastic and glass bottles from both the Scottish and Welsh governments, for example, will ensure systems are implemented that consumers can really buy into.
“Rather than continuing this unnecessary war of words, let’s remember that the ultimate goal here is to increase recycling rates. Amid widespread environmental pressure, collaboration is key to navigating new policy and delivering the most tangible environmental benefits – not just for today, but for the future.”