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Deposit Schemes & Reverse Vending Systems: a review - WR1203

There has been renewed interest in packaging deposit systems both from the newly-elected Mayor of London and from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). It is thought that packaging deposit schemes could encourage better segregation of packaging waste by material-type. This would result in more consistent packaging waste loads being delivered to reprocessing sites and assist in improving recycling rates particularly from household waste sources.

With this in mind, this project aims to review information on deposit systems for single-use drink containers (plastic, aluminium and glass) and the role they might play in increasing recovery and recycling.

Key Questions

• Would a deposit system lead to increased collection and/or improve the quality of the materials collected?
• What role might reverse-vending play in a deposit scheme or as an alternative? Could reverse vending alone provide a similar or better outcome?
• What would be the likely effect on local authority collections/existing collection mechanisms?
• What are the pre-conditions for success of a deposit scheme?
• What are the likely costs (including administrative and operational costs)? Are there likely to be less costly alternatives to increasing recycling?
• What information is there on industry evidence on deposit schemes?
• What information - if any - is there on the effects of deposits schemes on littering?
• Would certain drinks categories, producers or packaging systems be discriminated against or favoured by a deposit scheme?
• Would this have any effect on the market for containers which can be refilled (or the likelihood of such a market taking off)?
• Are the conclusions on benefits and disadvantages different for each material? Might deposit schemes encourage packaging producers to substitute one material for another?
Main Objective
The primary objective of this work was to review features of packaging deposit systems and highlight the role they might play in increasing recovery and recycling of single-use drink containers (plastic, aluminium and glass) in the UK.

Specific Objectives:
· Review of overall UK system
· Material Sector Focus
· Review of Member State Experience
Project Documents
• Final Report : Review of Packaging Deposits System for the UK - main report   (1476k)
• Final Report : Review of Packaging Deposits System for the UK - summary report   (585k)
• Final Report - Annex : Review of Packaging Deposits System for the UK - Annex A   (360k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2008

Cost: £46,144
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Resources Management - Oxford
Environmental Protection              
Waste collection and handling systems              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management