LARAC has urged caution in the rush for Deposit Return Schemes in the UK in light of the latest report on the subject from Keep Britain Tidy Group. LARAC feels that a study based on a sample of just 1% of UK local authorities does not prove that DRS is suitable for the UK, pointing out that most countries with successful DRS systems implemented them before those countries had mature and robust kerbside collection schemes. LARAC believes that funds should be pushed into the existing kerbside collection infrastructure and this would deliver a bigger increase in the overall recycling rate at a more effective cost. LARAC has reminded industry that the UK has a virtual blanket coverage of kerbside collections for beverage containers and to duplicate that existing system with new DRS infrastructure does not make economic sense.
Speaking from Nottingham on the first day of the annual UK LARAC Conference, Andrew Bird, Chair LARAC, said “The headline savings coming from the modelling in this report are unlikely to be achieved to the levels stated in the real world. LARAC believes that Producer Responsibility should be extended in the UK but in the case of packaging and in particular beverage containers, through the robust and consistent collection services provided by local authorities and their partners from the private waste industry. Investment in on the go recycling infrastructure and communications could be a much more meaningful way of producers really helping to make a difference and cut local authority costs.”
LARAC believes that the funding needed to implement a new vast DRS infrastructure will be better spent on existing collection systems and give a better increase in the overall recycling rate. The headline figure of potential savings also masks the reality of where in the chain the savings are made which will typically mean an increase for a local authority, either on the collection side or on the treatment side. LARAC points out that in the real world each scenario will be different depending on contract terms, access to sorting facilities, life cycle of vehicles and many more factors. LARAC calls on the wider industry to work with it to collate and develop a wide and robust evidence base for the most appropriate way of maximising funds for recycling and use of existing kerbside and bring site recycling schemes.
For further information please contact Lee Marshall, CEO LARAC, on 07956 617 884.