Consumer confusion risks ‘undermining’ the UK Government’s flagship recycling policy, the deposit return scheme (DRS), new research from Tetra Pak suggests.
58% of consumers don’t understand what the deposit return scheme (DRS) entails, the Tetra Pak research suggests. According to the research, 59% of people who had a view on the issue would be ‘confused’ by the DRS unless it was consistent with household recycling collection.
Currently, materials such as cartons and HDPE plastics that can be recycled through home collections are excluded from government proposals for the scheme, Tetra Pak says.
Two thirds (67%) of the public indicated that they would use the new recycling system once introduced and 69% of those polled supported the inclusion of at least one additional material from a provided list that included drink cartons, HDPE plastic such as supermarket milk containers, or drinks pouches to the scope of the DRS/
The research also suggests consumer confusion over which materials can be accepted under the DRS. Over a third (38%) incorrectly assumed drinks cartons and HDPE plastic containers (38%) are already included – neither of these packaging types are set to be included.
The British public is willing and excited to use the new deposit return scheme, but confusion over which materials are included risks undermining it.
According to Tetra Pak, 46% of consumers ‘who understand the issue’ said they would be more likely to use the DRS if it included a wider range of materials, and 54% of consumers ‘with a firm position on the topic’ would support a ‘digital’ DRS, where items can be returned via household collection. A digital DRS uses barcodes to identify relevant items in kerbside recycling collections.
Alex Henriksen, Managing Director of Tetra Pak North Europe, said: “The situation is clear. The British public is willing and excited to use the new deposit return scheme, but confusion over which materials are included risks undermining it.”
“Clearly the most straightforward, user-friendly DRS is one that includes a wide range of materials, and offers a digital option, allowing consumers to engage with the scheme from home.”
“Our industry has consistently called for the inclusion of cartons in the UK DRS from launch. The limited model proposed by the Government risks confusing consumers who are used to recycling a wider range of materials via other routes.
“This research demonstrates a public appetite to take part in the DRS once it is introduced. The job of industry and government should be to make that as easy as possible; current, limited proposals fail in that regard.”