Unstoppable case for plastic bottle scheme

Plaid AM backs recycling plan

The case for a Deposit Return Scheme, where empty plastic bottles and cans are returned to a shop in return for a voucher, is “unstoppable” according to Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd.

Assembly Members saw first-hand this week how a deposit return scheme (DRS) could work when MCS took a DRS machine to a drop-in event at the Senedd.

The Reverse Vending Machine took centre stage at the event in Tŷ Hywel, accepting bottles and cans and printing out a voucher which can be exchanged for the initial deposit.

Mr Gruffydd attended the event organised by the Marine Conservation Society. A DEFRA/Welsh Government consultation on the matter is expected to be launched in the coming weeks.

He said: “A similar machine is already operating in the Iceland store in Mold and it’s clear that this technology can be rolled out across the country. There’s a desperate need to reduce the amount of plastic that is being thrown away, either into landfill or ending up littering our beaches. 70% of all litter found on UK beaches is plastic. UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year and it’s thought that more than three billion are simply thrown away. In other parts of the world bottle deposit return schemes have led to an increase in recycling rates.The case for a scheme where people get money back for their empty bottles and cans is unstoppable. Plaid Cymru has supported such a scheme for some time and we want to see it expanded as quickly as possible.

Gill Bell, MCS Head of Conservation in Wales, says there is strong cross-party support for DRS in the country: “Although Wales is the world’s third-best recycling nation, we need to move away from being a throwaway society to a circular economy – we believe putting a value on these items will lead to behaviour change. Countries where these schemes have been put in place have seen a significant reduction in littering of these items. We need a deposit return scheme in Wales for plastic and glass bottles, and drinks cans which will increase recycling rates, reduce beach litter and help meet our well-being goal of being a globally responsible Wales”

MCS has been running its annual Great British Beach Clean for 25 years around the UK coast and bottles and cans have consistently been in the top 10 of beach litter finds, and in Wales in 2018, on average, 53 drinks containers, including plastic and glass bottles and metal cans, were found on every 100 metres of Welsh beaches cleaned and surveyed.

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