24th March 2021: In light of reports that the UK Government will delay the UK Deposit Return Scheme to 2024 ‘at the earliest’, Planet Patrol founder, Lizzie Carr, comments:
Planet Patrol has been gathering data on litter in the UK over the past three years and plastic bottles, drinks cans and glass bottles are consistently amongst the top offenders:
- In 2020, a quarter of all litter recorded in the free Planet Patrol app by the public were plastic bottles, metal drinks cans and glass bottles: items that are all 100% recyclable but continue to leak into the environment.
- Over half (58%) of all litter recorded was single use, and 45% was made up of ‘on-the-go’ food and drink containers.
The Deposit Return Scheme offers a real solution to increasing recycling rates and reducing litter levels, highlighted by the high recycling rates of countries such as Germany (as high as 97% recycling rate) who have use a deposit return scheme since 2003.
As Planet Patrol’s data shows, implementing a Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans alone could lead to eliminating a quarter of all litter in the UK. Expanding the scheme to cover more ‘on-the-go’ food and drink containers, as identified in Planet Patrol’s research, could cut litter by nearly half.
If the UK Government is genuine about its commitments to a green recovery and ‘high ambitions for the resources and waste sector’, we cannot continue to allow/tolerate delays and excuses like this.
What is a Deposit Return Scheme?
A Deposit Return Scheme is recycling system in which customers pay a small deposit for containers, which can be refunded upon their return.
Read more about Planet Patrol’s research
Planet Patrol runs a global citizen science programme gathering data on littered items via a free mobile app. More information about the litter tracking app and Planet Patrol’s latest Litter Report can be found here.