First whole town DDRS trial shows preference for at home returns

The results of the first whole-town digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) trial, which took place in Brecon, Wales, show that there is widespread preference for at home bottle returns rather than supermarket vending schemes.

The trial, which continues until November 1, has seen over 1,200 households take part so far.

In the trial, cans or bottles can be recycled through normal waste collections, over the counter or through special recycling machines located around town.

According to The Grocer figures from the trial suggest that around 75% of those taking part have been returning bottles and cartons at the kerbside compared to 25% using return machines set up in retail.

It follows the news that the UK wide deposit return scheme (DRS) could be pushed back until 2026, after the scheme had already been delayed due to Covid-19.

Supermarkets were told earlier this month that Defra had ruled out supermarket calls for pilot schemes saying the schemes “don’t really work unless you do it end to end”.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We’re committed to introducing a deposit return scheme in Wales and its important we explore the different ways a scheme could be delivered.”

“Wales is the third best country in the world for recycling but we need to go further if we are to reach net zero and tackle littering. The learning from this trial will help us better understand recycling patterns, which is an important part of reaching that target”.

“It’s been very interesting learning more about this scheme from people in Brecon – a great effort by the local community.”

Circularity Solutions project lead Duncan Midwood said: “Wales is leading the way in supporting the development of Digital DRS which promises to transform the way packaging is collected for recycling across the world.”

“The learnings gained from the trial in Brecon will help industry and legislators understand how Digital DRS could work within a UK DRS to increase levels of recycling further.”

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