Bottle and can deposit schemes could save councils £35m

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A report says savings would be made by reducing levels of littering and lowering charges from sending waste to landfill.

Recycling for cash

English councils could save up to £35m a year by introducing a deposit refund system for drinks bottles and cans, according to a report.

The recycling schemes work by charging a deposit when consumers buy single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drinks containers, which is then refunded when they are taken back to a collection point.

And in a study, commissioned by a consortium of conservation, recycling and anti-litter organisations, it has been claimed that rather than cost councils cash – it could save them millions.

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The report claims the savings would be made by councils having fewer containers to collect and sort, reduced levels of littering and lower charges from sending waste to landfill.

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, one of the members of the consortium, said: “There is no doubt that introducing a deposit refund system would reduce littering in this country but, until now, there has been a concern that it would have a negative impact on cash-strapped councils.

“This report shows that in fact a deposit return scheme would create savings for local government.”

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at CPRE, said: “There are no longer any valid arguments that deposit refund systems don’t work and the environmental case is crystal clear.

“For our coasts and countryside, the cost of not taking action will be far greater than any incurred by the parts of industry that are trying to block this.”

The Scottish government has already announced plans to bring in a deposit refund system for bottles and cans.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said he will look at how a scheme could be introduced in England.

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