Drinks producers urge Sunak to implement DRS in open letter



An open letter signed by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and many more urges Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to implement a deposit return scheme (DRS) to increase recycling rates.

UK-based environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy organised the letter, which was signed by major soft drinks producers including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Suntory, the British Soft Drinks Association, as well as environmental organisations such as WWF, Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society and trade body the Federation of Independent Retailers.

The open letter voices the signatories’ “unwavering support” for the UK Government’s commitment to DRS “in light of unsupported reports of its costs”. It also reiterates they believe the scheme should be aligned across all nations in terms of deposit levels, timeline, scope and fees.

Commenting on the letter, Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said: “Only a DRS can clear up the mess left by littered drinks containers and provide the high-quality recycling needed to help the UK move towards a long overdue circular economy for drinks packaging.

“That’s why a DRS is the policy that carries almost universal support from manufacturers through to consumers and everyone in between.”

Given the widespread support for deposit return, we urge all governments of the UK to act in the interests of the environment.

Polling carried out by YouGov, on behalf of Keep Britain Tidy, highlighted a lack of awareness of DRS, only 30% had heard of DRS and answered that they knew what it was.

However, once it was explained what DRS is, 66% of respondents supported the introduction of a DRS scheme, and 36% supported a deposit of up to 20p per container. 76% believed glass should be included in DRS, the highest percentage, ahead of plastic (75%) and aluminium (69%).

Keep Britain Tidy says the “most effective way” of achieving the Government’s 2050 net zero target is through the introduction of a DRS, which it claims will provide the infrastructure to help “significantly increase” recycling rates at no cost to the taxpayer.

The letter reads: “Given the widespread support for deposit return, we urge all governments of the UK to act in the interests of the environment and agree to implement an aligned and interoperable scheme in deposit level, timeline, scope and fees, thus giving all actors certainty and confidence the UK supply chain will not be compromised.”

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