Explaining a Deposit Return Scheme
A Deposit Return Scheme (sometimes referred to as a Deposit Refund System, or DRS) is a deposit mechanism which seeks to improve recycling rates and improve the quality of collected waste material that can be recycled. Thanks to the higher quality of materials being recycled, the plastic can be repurposed into high-quality recycled plastic. This is better for the environment and reduces the amount of ‘virgin plastic’ being used each year.
By placing an extra deposit cost on a product at the point of sale, consumers can be incentivised to return them and secure their refund once they are returned to a collection point.
Polytag has been working to create a new breed of transformative digital DRS technology (DDRS). Digital DRS technologies are well suited to the UK’s resource and waste system for two reasons: the existence of a fully functioning kerbside waste and recycling collection service across the country, and consumers’ familiarity with QR codes post-Covid.
While DRS can be used on a range of different products, the focus of DRS across the four devolved nations in the UK is plastic, aluminium, and glass drinks bottles. These are made of high-quality, food-grade materials which can be easily recycled when separated from other packaging waste.