On 11th October 2017, Eunomia published a report commissioned by CPRE and others asserting that English councils would benefit by £35 million from the introduction of a deposit return scheme.  

INCPEN supports Defra Minister’s comments

In response, Paul Vanston, CEO of INCPEN said, ‘The Defra Minister, Dr Thérèse Coffey, was right to question the extrapolation of financial data.  Experience in councils’ recycling and waste services has repeatedly shown that the figures in one council can rarely be extrapolated with a high degree of certainty to the next-door council, let alone more widely.  Whilst the effort by Eunomia colleagues to try and tackle the challenge is respected, the sheer levels of differences across councils mean figures are subject to high degrees of reasonable doubts.  Such issues need to be explored objectively in governments’ Impacts Assessments on all the options.’  


Speaking about LARAC’s response to the Eunomia report, Paul Vanston said, ‘It seems INCPEN and LARAC share the same view about the bigger picture, namely that companies and councils could talk very soon about better ways of achieving higher recycling rates, less litter, and better financial outcomes.  Potential reform of the PRN system, linked with funding for residents’ communications and better ‘on the go’ infrastructure, could all be on the agenda.  Discussions on these lines are more likely to lead to solid outcomes for councils and the country that stand the test of time.’  

74% capture of plastics drinks bottles for recycling – next best steps

Paul Vanston added, ‘According to Valpak calculations, 74% of plastic drinks bottles are already captured for recycling in the UK.  

That is a phenomenal achievement based on years of very hard work by councils, companies and citizens.  The consequent questions are ‘Could 74% be raised to 90%+ using existing infrastructure, and does that offer best value?  What mechanisms could work well in drawing-in funds to support accelerated and long-term communications to residents?  What new and enhanced ‘on the go’ infrastructure may be required and how is it paid for?  How do all the options compare, pound for pound, in objective Impacts Assessments?’   

 Open door

In support of this approach, Paul Vanston noted, ‘A heartening positive aspect arising from the Eunomia report was CPRE’s position, which is, to quote, “wedded to the results of a DRS scheme, not the DRS scheme itself. If there is another way to get the same results then we can get on board with that.”  INCPEN believes time wisely spent on wider reforms could bear fruit by achieving multiple goals simultaneously on effective & efficient systems, supporting councils’ needs, higher recycling rates, reduced litter and enhanced ‘on the go’ infrastructure.  Discussions are needed now on joining-up these interlinked issues in a coherent, objective way.’  

Avoid a ‘one horse race’

Commenting on the debate on deposit return schemes to date, Paul Vanston said, ‘As it’s outcomes that matter most, we must all be very careful to avoid a ‘one horse race’ in deliberations on options, whether that’s DRS or some other idea to the exclusion of others.  Even an unfit horse can win a race if all other contenders are not brought to the starting line.  Reform of the PRN system could be an excellent option to consider on helping the UK cross the winning line on a greener economy through higher recycling rates, reduced litter, and better ‘on the go’ infrastructure.  This and other options need to be tested through detailed and objective Impacts Assessments, supported by the widest possible coalition of willing supply chain organisations working together towards common goals in the UK’s interests’. 

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