Welsh kerbside DRS pilot sees 97 per cent engagement rate

The first Kerbside Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) trial in Wales has revealed its results, which show that at least 97 per cent of registered households returned at least one bottle over the four-week trial.

Taking place across the summer in Conwy, Wales, the initiative was a collaboration between the Welsh Government, Conwy Council, Ecosurety, WRAP Cymru, and technology supplier Polytag. Participating residents were presented with six tagged bottles and asked to make use of a free application in order to scan the bottles when placing them in their usual kerbside recycling containers; these were then scanned again upon collection. For every scanned bottle, residents were awarded a digital token worth 20 pence. Over the space of the pilot, 90 per cent of registered households scanned four or more bottles, with 73 per cent scanning all six.

The trial piloted Polytag’s digital DRS ‘tag and trace’ technology. The platform allows brands to ‘tag’ their packaging at the point of manufacture, before being ‘traced’ by the consumer once scanned. Polytag asserts that this ensures that tagged packaging can be isolated from the existing recycling waste stream and reprocessed in a manner that ensures the retention of ‘high-value’ plastics and the minimisation of downcycling.

In the wake of the trial scheme, consultation surrounding the introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is now closed, with the results expected to be announced later this year.