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Bring back deposits on bottles, say public

[Wednesday 17 December 2008]

THE vast majority of people worried about broken bottles littering our streets – and causing a major hazard to livestock in the countryside – think there is a sensible remedy: bring back the deposits which make bottles returnable.

This public poll proves that such a scheme would have huge support, so we say that now is the time for the Government to take action. Evidence shows that deposit schemes
work well.

Bill Bryson - CPRE

For many years after World War 11, there was a small deposit on bottles – often as little as two pence, less than 1p in decimal money – because there was a nationwide glass shortage. Many children made up their pocket money by collecting abandoned bottles and returning them to shops.

Today, broken bottles and other drinks containers are a regular feature of street litter even in market towns and farmers with land in beauty spots like areas of the Yorkshire Dales have to remove thousands of them as a danger to cattle, sheep and working sheep dogs.

Now, a public opinion poll commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has demonstrated overwhelming public support for a return of bottle deposit systems. And it could be extended to other drinks containers like plastics and cans.

Of those polled by Ipsos MORI, 82% said they would support a scheme whereby at least 5 pence was included in the price of every drink container, with that deposit paid back to the consumer when the container was returned for recycling. Four in five of those polled said they would support a scheme whereby 10 pence was included.

The former Yorkshire Dales president Bill Bryson, the American writer who is now president of CPRE, co0mmented: “We asked Government to consider a review of bottle deposit systems earlier this year, and we know ministers will be looking at the results as part of their strategic review on packaging.

“This public poll proves that such a scheme would have huge support, so we say that now is the time for the Government to take action. Evidence shows that deposit schemes work well. Eleven US states have them, and the New York State bottle bill, for example, has delivered redemption rates of 65-80%.

“In South Australia, there are return rates of 74% of plastic bottles and 86-92% for cans. And closer to home, Denmark’s scheme achieves a return rate of 87% for beverage containers, with an 82% rate in Sweden.’

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