Council say drinks container return scheme should be deferred as it will ’cause confusion’
Wrexham Council are set to call for the implementation of any deposit return scheme in the UK to be “deferred for the time being”.
The suggestion is being submitted in response to a consultation over plans to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the collaborative approach would mean that any future DRS would form part of a coherent system across the UK.
Such a scheme aims to make it easy for consumers to return ‘on the go’ drinks containers, in a bid to increase recycling rates and a reduction in littering
In a council response set to be approved by the Cllr David A Bithell, lead member of environment and transport, it is stated that the local authority “feel that the implementation of any DRS in the UK should be deferred for the time being”.
The response, which will be approved via a delegated decision on Monday, says: “There is a growing opinion that the intended policies on EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and consistency will bring about great changes in what we recycle and how we recycle. These will need time to bed in and show results.
“A DRS on top of this at the same time will cause confusion amongst the public, be expensive for producers and layer on a collection system that works against EPR and delivers minimal gains.
“By deferring until we know what increase the other policy areas bring, we can undertake further and better research into the full implications of a DRS against EPR and Consistency.
“It will also allow for a DRS designed to work alongside these polices and not against them, capturing materials that they have been unable to for whatever reason.
“A DRS should be part of an integrated system of resource and waste management that does not compete with existing recycling services which have proven to be highly successful in delivering significant increases in recycling.”
It adds: “We feel there are uncertainties around how an efficient DRS integrates with the Local Authority Consistency requirements to collect the same material and EPR where producers meet the full cost of recovery.
“The consultations have recognised there is potential for producers paying for two systems.
“For local authorities to support the principle of a DRS there needs to be clear evidence that there will be no additional financial burdens resulting from this. The proposed in scope DRS materials already achieve high capture rates through the kerbside.
“The concept of a DRS also works against the aims of simplifying the recycling process for residents.”
The response continues onto say that should a DRS be introduced, the council agree that PET bottles, aluminium cans, steel cans and glass bottles and the like should be included in the scheme.
Wrexham Council also agree that retailers who sell drinks containers in scope should be obligated to host a return point. It adds: “Any DRS system will need a comprehensive collection infrastructure to be successful, with readily accessible locations.
“This will mean retailers being the main part of this collection solution supported by other services.
“It would not be appropriate to mandate all these locations as it should be assessed on a local basis and the geographical spread/location of this service industries and opening times to provide a comprehensive distribution.
“Other locations might end up hosting a return point but they should not be obligated.
“There may be the potential to host at Recycling Centres and adjacent to existing Recycling Points. However, such sites are likely to need some modification, in such circumstances these costs need to be fully borne by the producers and there should be no costs to the local authority, either initially or on an ongoing basis for any operational costs.”
“Smaller businesses or those with limited opening hours could be exempt to minimise the collection costs of material which is likely to be low. This however must be balanced against providing a comprehensive collection network in rural areas.”
You can view the report / full response to the 89 questions in the consultation on the Wrexham Council website here.
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