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Survey says: 1 billion could be sent to charity via DRS

One in five Britons would donate to charity all of the deposits they will have to pay on drinks cans and bottles under a proposed deposit return system (DRS) if they had the choice, according to a new survey.

The survey was carried out for the pressure group Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which estimates that such an option could result in annual donations of more than £1 billion to good causes.

On top of the 20% who said they wanted to donate all of the money, a further 19% of respondents said they would donate their deposits most of the time, and more than a third (34%) would do so some of the time.

The UK Government is currently considering what sort of DRS to introduce in England. Scotland is already planning such a scheme.

‘Heartening’ response

CPRE says this could lead to a further £1.3 billion in donations to local charitable causes from the deposits on packaging like glass and plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans. The figure could be even higher if drinks cartons and pouches are also included in England’s scheme.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at CPRE, says ‘It is fantastic and really heartening that so many people would be happy to donate their deposits in this way.

‘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.’

Boost to recycling rates

Harding believes the English scheme should include 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,’ she adds.

The Government estimates that 28 billion single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drinks bottles and cans are sold every year in the UK. Through the monetary incentive, an effective UK-wide deposit return system is said to have the potential to boost recycling rates for drinks containers to more than 90%.

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