Marine Conservation Society warns Welsh Local Authorities not to fail future generations by resisting Deposit Return Scheme

Date posted: 8 May 2019

The Marine Conservation Society has warned Welsh Local Authorities and elements within government that they will be failing young people if they refuse to back a money-back recycling system which encourages consumers to return their empty glass and plastic bottles and cans.

Bottles recycled
© Recycle Harmony

It comes on the day that Scotland announced the design of its Deposit Return Scheme. Ministers at Holyrood confirmed that glass, cans and some plastic containers will be covered, but other plastics and materials such as tetrapaks and pouches are not to be included initially. The deposit will be set at 20p for all containers, and retailers of all sizes will be paid by the system to accept returns.

There’s massive public support across the UK for such a system. Nearly three out of four of people in Wales think that all sizes of drinks container should be included in a national money-back recycling system.

But environmental campaigners are now concerned that there is a growing resistance among Local Authorities in Wales and some quarters within the Welsh Government to plans for a Deposit Return Scheme.

Gill Bell, MCS Head of Conservation in Wales, said: “We believe that Local Authorities in Wales are putting growing pressure on Ministers to reject a Deposit Return Scheme, and that they are focussing on their own self-interests before the rights of future, younger generations.

Research carried out by YouGov for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) showed 71% supported all sizes of containers being included in a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), but also showed that 62% of adults questioned in Wales thought a money-back recycling system should include plastic, glass bottles and aluminium cans, whilst 40% also said they would also like to see drinks cartons included.

Gill Bell added: “It has been shown elsewhere that Local Authorities, as a whole, benefit financially and make savings from a Deposit Return Scheme. Vested interests must not be put ahead of the wellbeing of future generations, by failing to back a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme, when it is highly likely to be introduced across the rest of the UK.

“Welsh Ministers have a duty to be globally responsible and they should support a UK-wide scheme. The concerns of Local Authorities should be addressed. However local government and Welsh Ministers should listen to the Welsh public, the people they serve, who are supportive of Deposit Return Schemes.”

The Marine Conservation Society has led calls for compatible schemes to be introduced across the UK. More than 15,000 people have responded to the joint Defra/Welsh Government consultation through MCS’s Bottles for Change campaign in calling for an all-inclusive scheme - along with businesses which have signed up, including FRF Toyota based in South Wales, Silentnight, and Ocean Outdoor.

MCS is urging people across Wales to take part in the consultation by May 13th by visiting www.bottlesforchange.uk and the Welsh language page at: www.bottlesforchange.uk/cymru

The Welsh Government says it will consider the responses and undertake further impact assessment work, before deciding on whether and how to implement a DRS in Wales.

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