A fifth of people would donate the cash they received through a bottle and can deposit return scheme to charity, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has found.
A survey carried out by ICM Unlimited and published this week by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) suggests that this could result in annual donations of more than £1 billion to good causes.
A further 19% of respondents said they would donate their deposits most of the time, and more than a third (34%) would donate at least some of the time. This could lead to a further £1.3 billion in donations to local charitable causes from the deposits on glass and plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans, the analysis by CPRE found.
The donations could be even higher if drinks cartons and pouches are also included in England’s deposit system.
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at CPRE, said:
‘Not only would the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return system put a stop to most of the environmental damage caused by drinks containers and boost recycling rates in excess of 90%, it could also provide much needed funding for good causes across the country. It is fantastic and really heartening that so many people would be happy to donate their deposits in this way.
‘An effective “all-in” deposit return system will bring an end to the growing disenchantment and scepticism around current recycling methods by doubling current recycling rates. But it’s also evident that the deposit, as well as encouraging the right behaviour in terms of recycling, would allow for people’s generous natures to be realised when it comes to supporting others.
‘It’s important to ensure that England’s scheme includes every bottle, can, carton and pouch, whatever the shape, size or material. Not only will this halt the devastation caused to our countryside and environment by drinks container pollution, but if every type of drinks packaging is included in the scheme, it could result in more donated deposits, benefiting nature and local communities.’
In the UK, it is estimated that 28 billion single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drinks bottles and cans are sold every year in the UK, according to recent government figures with current waste collection and recycling systems meaning that recycling rates in the UK are around just 45%.
An effective UK-wide deposit return system with a monetary incentive has the potential to boost recycling rates for drinks containers to more than 90%, CPRE says, which would significantly reduce the environmental damage they cause, as well as making the producers of drinks packaging financially responsible for the full costs of the waste they create.
The Scottish government has already announced its plans to introduce a deposit return system for glass, plastic and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes.
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