All-in’ deposit return system will give £2 billion boosts to the economy by Tom Walker

The economic benefit of a deposit return system, which would include every drinks can and bottle in both plastic and glass, would be eight times greater than the economic benefit of a watered-down system, according to a government analysis, as highlighted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The charity, which has campaigned for deposit return system for more than ten years, has said that, of the two systems currently proposed by DEFRA, an ‘all-in’ system could generate £2 billion for the economy over ten years, according to the government’s own impact assessment.


A reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill, littered drinks containers, and their associated clean-up costs, reduced air, and water pollution, as well as fewer carbon emissions caused by the extraction and production of raw materials needed to produce new drinks containers, will result in huge savings for the Treasury, local councils, and tax-payers.

The introduction of a deposit return system would boost recycling rates for drinks containers to more than 90 percent, and make the producers of drinks and its packaging financially responsible for full collection and clean-up costs of the waste that they produce.

CPRE states that any attempt to water down the system by vested interests would be a missed opportunity and drastic loss of future revenue for the British economy, with an ‘on-the-go’ system, for example, resulting in a fraction of the economic benefit.

Maddy Haughton-Boakes, Litter Campaigner at CPRE, said: “This is yet more evidence of the positive impact that a deposit return system will have on the whole of society. Taking us towards a circular economy, we will recycle almost all of the drinks cans and bottles we consume, slow down the depletion of scarce resources, and reduce carbon emission, all of which will have a lasting positive impact for our countryside and environment.”

“And if that wasn’t good enough, this solution will generate billions of pounds for our economy. The government has an opportunity to ensure England gets the most effective and economically viable deposit system in the world.”

“A failure to ensure that all drinks containers, of all sizes and materials, are included in the scheme would be a clear sign that they were putting the profits of vested interests above the benefits to society, the economy, our countryside and environment.”