My hero finds the bottle to campaign …

Filed in Blog by on October 6, 2010 11 Comments
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bring back the deposit on bottles and cans

bring back the deposit on bottles and cans

I’ve got to confess a bit of soft spot for Bill Bryson. It used to be my ‘tradition’ that whenever I went on holiday, I would treat myself to one of his new literary gems as my reading material and I have some excruciatingly funny stories about the sorts of things I have used his books for in the past, but that’s not talk for a family site …

Now my soft spot has grown softer and spottier thanks to his work with The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Deposit refund scheme

They’ve recently published research that clearly demonstrates a drinks container deposit refund scheme (DRS, covering glass bottles, plastic bottles and cans) would cost little to set up, and would generate revenue to support most of its own running costs.

Well who knew!

Zero waste

The research demonstrates how the scheme would help the Government achieve a ‘Zero Waste’ economy by increasing recycling rates, and reducing litter as promised in the Coalition’s ‘Programme for Government’. Most importantly, perhaps, the report highlights how the scheme would reduce costs to the public sector by £160 million per year.

Budget cuts anybody?

Recapture and recycle

Bill Bryson, CPRE President, says: “These findings throw rational and informed light on an issue that is nonsensically contentious in the UK. What sensible nation would not want to capture and recycle its precious and finite resources? What discerning people would not want to enjoy a litter-free environment?”

Yay! <swoon> <faints>

Got the bottle?

The new research report, available in its multi page glory here, completely with smiling face of Mr Bryson ‘Have we got the bottle? Implementing a deposit refund scheme in the UK,’ shows that a sensibly implemented DRS would deliver environmental benefits well in excess of the costs of implementation. The report suggests a deposit of 15p for containers smaller than 500ml and 30p for those larger would generate return rates of around 90 per cent.


Samantha Harding, CPRE Stop the Drop Campaign Manager, says: “The UK has a serious litter problem and the year on year increase in the cost of clearing it up has become unsustainable. We need to look at new ways of tackling litter and changing behaviours. Our research shows that a deposit refund scheme would reduce litter and increase rates of recycling, while at the same time reducing public sector spending on waste.”

Save waste

Honestly, this is a no brainer isn’t it? And would make my daughter happy and rich as she went on her litter picking missions. Bill Bryson, you are my hero and I hope someone very busy, important and influential joins you in bringing back deposits on bottles and cans to the UK.

Ahhh, the heady days of skipping down the road in my ra-ra skirt to return my Corona bottles for 10p.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    We certainly do need something or one to sort out litter on my road. So much rubbish gets left there, and I’m not talking litter more like chairs and mattresses. Ie fly tipping.

  2. Poppy says:

    Mr Bryon and the CPRE seem to have support in Westminster.

    I’d also love the chance to make a bit of money when I collect other people’s rubbish as I walk my dog!!!

  3. if heroes must be, then i applaud your taste, Bill Bryson is indeed the man to wear that paper crown…his work has enlivened my desert days and is now feeding me via the local midwestern library, i live close to where he hails from, although my trips have been similar and parallel to his…continentally backwards.

    ah, the prospect of cleaning roadsides and reaping neat profits, the deposit-refund system indeed is the only incentive worth trying, it teaches personal responsibility and employs self motivated people, green, green…and non governmental, non institutional…

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Sounds like there is a major issue where you live, Julie. Do you think the fly tipping is because people have to pay to take large items to the household recycling area?
    @Poppy: Thanks for sharing the article Poppy; will go and take a look now!
    @nadine sellers: I’m not really a hero worshipper, but Bill Bryson does come close! So glad we enjoy the same great taste 😀

  5. Jane says:

    This should help packaging to be seen as a resource.

  6. Jane says:

    @Julie Day: It is interesting to look at the reasons for this. Is it landlords stripping out houses/flats between lettings/students finding they have too much stuff when they move out/people not knowing what to do with large items of waste and hoping it will just be taken away? Councils have different charges and policies. Friends in a house divided into flats shared a Council collection between them all so they could get the maximum number of items collected at one time for the price by the Council. What the Council should be doing is investigating why – or everyone in the area ends up paying for the large bills for flytip collections in their Council Tax instead of this tax being used for services for those who really need them.

  7. Colleen says:

    One country we visited in Europe ( which one I can’t remember) had plastic bottle recycling vending machines at the grocery store. When you put your bottle in the machine you recieve a coupon for X amount of money to use as credit in the store. I thought it was a wonderful idea and wonder why it hasn’t caught on elsewhere.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Jane, viewing packaging as a resource would be my mission if ever I got into a place of power 😉
    @Colleen: Hi Colleen, the idea of those machines sounds great – wound be fab to see them catch on elsewhere!

  9. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: We want less of it but what there is has a cost in creation and disposal and so needs to be valued as a resource.

  10. H0gg1t says:

    Oh, the memories of collecting and taking bottles back for money! I think most kids would welcome the opportunity of earning more pocket money!
    Seriously, one proportion of the population who do not really recycle that much but who purchase probably the most both glass and plastic bottles and cans – students. Most students are strapped for cash, so a return to money back on bottles, plastic bottles and cans would seem a great idea and would also as a byproduct reduce the rubbish littering areas with a high density of student housing.

    Bring it on!!!

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @H0gg1t: I think you’re right – school children and college students would probably love the opportunity to earn some pocket money. I think it’s a wonderful idea and don’t understand why the supermarkets are so reluctant (which I learned yesterday at a FOE talk)

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