Charities could receive £1 billion in donations from DRS

One in five people (20%) using a UK-wide deposit return system (DRS) would donate deposits they’d paid on drinks cans and bottles to charity all of the time, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited and published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) means this could result in annual donations of more than £1 billion to good causes, it says.

A further 19% of respondents said they would donate their deposits most of the time, and more than a third (34%) would donate at least some of the time.

This could lead to a further £1.3 billion in donations to local charitable causes from the deposits on glass and plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans, the analysis by CPRE found.

The donations could be even higher if drinks cartons and pouches are also included in England’s deposit system – something which environment secretary Michael Gove is currently considering under the recent consultations from the Resources and Waste Strategy.

The countryside charity states that by including an option for the public to donate their deposits – something that is part of most other deposit systems around the world – it could build on the carrier bag charge, which, as well as reducing plastic bag usage by over 80%, raised £66 million for good causes in 2016/17.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at CPRE, said: ‘Not only would the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return system put a stop to most of the environmental damage caused by drinks containers and boost recycling rates in excess of 90%, it could also provide much needed funding for good causes across the country.

“It is fantastic and really heartening that so many people would be happy to donate their deposits in this way.


CPRE is calling for the UK government to introduce a fully comprehensive ‘all-in’ system

Samantha Harding added: “An effective ‘all-in’ deposit return system will bring an end to the growing disenchantment and scepticism around current recycling methods by doubling current recycling rates.

“But it’s also evident that the deposit, as well as encouraging the right behaviour in terms of recycling, would allow for people’s generous natures to be realised when it comes to supporting others.

“It’s important to ensure that England’s scheme includes every bottle, can, carton and pouch, whatever the shape, size or material. Not only will this halt the devastation caused to our countryside and environment by drinks container pollution, but if every type of drinks packaging is included in the scheme, it could result in more donated deposits, benefiting nature and local communities.”

In the UK, it is estimated that 28 billion single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drinks bottles and cans are sold every year in the UK, according to recent government figures. A portion of which finds its way into the natural environment.

The Scottish government announced its plans to introduce a deposit return system for glass, plastic and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes.

CPRE is calling for the UK government to “build on Scotland’s ambition” by introducing a fully comprehensive ‘all-in’ system, including all drinks containers of all sizes and materials, to “make sure that England gets the most effective and economically viable deposit system in the world”.

ICM interviewed a sample of 2,112 UK adults aged 18+ online using its omnibus service between 27 and 29 March 2019.  

The results have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults aged 18+. ICM Unlimited is the specialist social and political research division of Walnut Unlimited, the human understanding agency.

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