UK retailers Co-op and Iceland back deposit return scheme for plastic bottles

Supermarket chains Co-op and Iceland are the first UK retailers to support the government initiative to introduce a bottle Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) to boost plastic recycling rates and decrease ocean pollution.

The news came while the UK government reviews the results of a seven-week consultation on whether to introduce a mandatory  national deposit return scheme in England and Wales- an initiative led by Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Environment.

As reported by The Guardian, a survey carried out by Greenpeace revealed that Co-op and Iceland are the first retailers willing to host a bottle deposit return scheme to test the plausibility of the project.

Richard Walker, Director for Sustainability at Iceland Foods said: “Introducing a DRS may well add to our costs of doing business. However, we believe it is a small price to pay for the long term sustainability of this planet. I urge all other retailers to do the right thing and follow suit”.

Jo Whitfield, the Retail Chief Executive at the Co-op said that the company would strongly support such a scheme by saying: “The Co-op is in favour of creating a deposit return scheme which increases the overall recycling of packaging and significantly reduces litter and importantly helps tackle marine pollution”.

A bottle Deposit Return Scheme works by consumers paying a small deposit for the plastic bottle they buy, which is then fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned.  As Greenpeace explains, it is like buying the content but borrowing the bottle.

DRS is seen as a very effective tool to increase the recycling of bottles and divert plastic waste from the oceans.

Mr. Walker added that the plastic bottles deposit return scheme in Norway has led to 96 percent of all bottles being returned and that the UK needs to address the issue of 16 million single-use plastic bottles being disposed every day, which causes unprecedented damage to the ecosystem.

Other major supermarket retailers are encouraging the implement the scheme.  Tesco said that it needs to be “as easy and accessible for consumers as possible” and “ensures good quality” for end use. Marks & Spencer acknowledged the need to increase recycling rates for plastic bottles with a mandatory DRS being “an important solution to consider”.

Waitrose argued that a kerbside recycling scheme would be a more effective solution, but it is willing to collaborate with the government to consider its feasibility.

Some supermarkets argued against the scheme; Morrisons expressed concerns about the cost, Aldi called for a more holistic approach, and similarly Sainsbury’s argued that drink containers are only a small part of the broader waste and recycling challenge.

Louise Edge, an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace commented on the results of the survey by saying: “It is possible to prevent throwaway plastic polluting our rivers and oceans, but to do this we really need companies to step up to the plate”.

“Iceland and Co-op have shown some vision and set the standard – now it’s time for other companies to follow suit and start publicly backing deposit return schemes”. 


News published on Climate Action Programme
Consult the source

Moderated by : Nadège Rigaudeau

Other news in "Information"

No more excuses: Financing 1.5C

Published 19 Oct 2018 - 14:03

First published in Environmental Finance as part of a series covering EIT Climate-KIC’s Climate Innovation Summit 2018.  The financial sector must play a critical enabling role to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees. Investors (...)

Call for papers for the 23rd International Passive House Conference

Published 19 Oct 2018 - 12:00

Pass­ive House: Build­ing a health­i­er, more com­fort­able and more sus­tain­able world! Take the chance to present your Pass­ive House pro­ject in China! We are look­ing for­ ab­stracts on the fol­low­ing top­ics: Ex­amples of res­ (...)

[Urban Chronicles #WellBeingAtWork] #06 - Building materials: a new source of well-being at work?

Published 19 Oct 2018 - 00:00

Today's building professionals are facing many new challenges: complying with new thermal regulations, being more environmentally friendly or lowering construction costs. As a result, building materials are constantly evolving, improv (...)


Search through the news

Enter your own key word

Other news

Call for papers for the 23rd International Passive House Conference
Published 19 Oct 2018 - 12:00
Indoor Environmental Quality Survey: ExcEED contribution to healthier buildings
Published 12 Oct 2018 - 14:35
The iBRoad project video is here
Published 12 Oct 2018 - 14:30
STARDUST Meets the Dragon
Published 01 Oct 2018 - 12:40
PUBLENEF Final Conference
Published 01 Oct 2018 - 10:35


Most read articles