UK Government urged to reconsider DRS scheme

A UK behaviour change company has urged the UK Government to reconsider its plans to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for beverage containers after the results of a trial it ran demonstrated ‘sustained behaviour change’.

Greenredeem ran a year-long trial in 25 schools in 2019 which saw students return plastic bottles to an interactive kiosk which allowed them access to educational videos, images and facts on plastic recycling. For every bottle returned, five pence was given to the school to be spent on further educational initiatives. More than 160,000 bottles were returned over the course of the trial.

Parent surveys demonstrated the improved understanding of plastics recycling, with awareness of plastic pollution growing from 88 per cent to 93 per cent and 62 per cent of respondents claiming to recycle all plastic bottles when not at home, up from 56 per cent. The fact that recycling plastic bottles earned money for schools was also a plus, with 75 per cent saying it motivated them to recycle more.

Greenredeem stated that the results showed that such initiatives had a greater effect on behaviour change and cost less than a DRS – which is estimated to cost £1 billion to set up and &814 million each year to run.