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Plastic Bottle Recycling Schemes

January 13, 2021 1:23 PM
By Maggie Kellman

plastic bottles

Supermarkets should take the Initiative

Maggie Kellman, a Lib Dem Councillor for Walton, contacted major supermarkets about their plans to put reverse vending machines into their Chesterfield stores. These machines repay customers a small deposit paid on plastic bottles and will be required by law from 2024.

She says "there is no reason why these recycling machines could not be introduced straightaway. These machines have been used successfully elsewhere so why can't Chesterfield have them now?

And they would make a difference. Of 13 billion plastic bottles used each year in the UK, only 7.7 billion (59%) are collected for recycling. And yet empty plastic bottles can be a valuable resource, recycling just one will save enough energy to power a lightbulb for three hours or more.

Cllr Kellman says "we all know that plastic is a serious threat to our natural environment, yet millions of plastic bottles go unrecycled every day. It is easy to blame the customer, but the problem is a systemic failure of modern retail. Government, retailers and consumers must work together to increase rates of plastic recycling and reduce pollution." plastic bottle recyling

Keith Falconer, Lib Dem Councillor for Holmebrook believes "it is only fair that retailers take responsibility for selling these products by doing all they can to support recycling Rather than waiting for the government to act, lets see supermarkets in Chesterfield lead the way by introducing the machines now "

Lidl response

"We wanted to reassure you that at Lidl GB we are committed to delivering high quality and affordable food, which is also good for our planet. We are dedicated to reducing our plastic waste across our product range and have made strong progress across all areas of our reduced packaging target"

"We are still awaiting further guidance regarding the proposed Deposit Recycling Scheme (DRS) scheme for England and Wales before we are able to explore the most efficient solution for our entire business and will take into consideration any details once they are confirmed. As such, we are unable to share any further information at this time"

Tesco response

"Trialling reverse vending machines is one part of our efforts to close the recycling loop and prevent plastic packaging from going to waste, through using as much recycled content as possible and using materials that are easy to recycle. As a result of these trials, we have collected over a million bottles and returned £100,000 to customers."

"We will continue to review how best to support DRS and eagerly await further government guidance on its expectations on how DRS should be adopted"

Aldi's response

"By 2025, Aldi has pledged:

  • For 100% of the packaging it uses to be recyclable, reusable or compostable.
  • To halve the overall amount of plastic used (against a 2019 baseline).

These commitments will see Aldi remove more than 2 billion pieces of plastic from circulation.

As for the deposit return scheme specifically, Aldi and other retailers have been engaging with DEFRA since the policy was announced. A consultation is due next year on the specific details and we plan to participate in that to ensure the scheme is as effective as possible."

Sainsbury's response

"The UK Government is introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), for England, Wales and Northern Ireland for implementation in 2023/24. This is something that we will be required to do by law so all our stores will have them installed in due course.

We are still waiting to hear from Defra on the design of the Deposit Return Scheme and there is a consultation expected in the New Year. Once Defra has finalised the design of the scheme we will be able to develop our plans for its rollout to our stores"

Notes to Editors

DEFRA planned to introduce a plastic bottle deposit return scheme in England from 2023 but this has now been put back to 2024 . Retailers who sell drinks will be legally required to accept returns of empty drinks containers for recycling. The scheme would see customers paying a small deposit for every plastic bottle they buy. Once empty, they would put the bottles into so-called reverse vending machines to get their deposit back. This scheme also provides more effective recycling as it separates drinking bottles from other kinds of plastic,