Liberal Democrat Leader seeks earlier rollout of deposit return scheme

Oldham Liberal Democrats think a six year wait for the establishment of a national deposit return scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is too long, and Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE has written to the minister responsible to tell him so.

A deposit return, or reverse vending, scheme works through retailers charging customers a small deposit on cans, bottles and containers that can be recycled. When the customer brings the empty container back to the retailer, they get their deposit back.

In 2018, the Conservative Government promised to introduce such a scheme, but in a consultation earlier this year the start date had been pushed back to 2024, two years after Scotland.

Councillor Sykes does not think this is good enough and he has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, asking him to use the forthcoming COP26 conference on the environment, to be held in Glasgow in November, to pledge to an earlier start date.

Councillor Sykes said: “Deposit return schemes incentivise customers to recycle. They have been in place in some countries in Continental Europe for decades, and in many European countries you would be hard pressed and unfortunate to find a discarded drink can or plastic bottle. By paying people to bring them back, you avoid the rubbish that we so often see on our streets, in our parks and choking up our rivers.

Howard Sykes, looking out across Shaw

“Establishing a national scheme would be a practical and common-sense measure to help our environment, and, if this government wants to be treated as credible at COP2, it is now time for ministers to stop prevaricating and get on with it.”

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