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Statement from Polytag on the Government’s response to the Consultation Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Alice Rackley, CEO of Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) technology pioneer Polytag, has issued the following statement following the Government’s response to its second consultation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
“As staunch believers in the importance of leveraging digital technologies to reverse stagnating recycling rates, we are encouraged that the Government is willing to consider a DDRS that can can work in tandem with reverse vending machines (RVMs), but disappointed at some of the perceived shortcomings.
“First and foremost, in response to support from both brands and consumers, it is pleasing the English, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments are open to pursuing a different path from Scotland, which has been tormented by concessions, delays and industry-wide criticism. A hybrid model will reduce the number of RVMs, thereby addressing directly many retailers’ concerns regarding costs and retail space, while increasing the number of return points, convenience and ease with which to recycle.
“That said, it is disappointing it has been argued the technology required to change the labelling of containers to facilitate a DDRS is not currently possible. Our partnership with Ocado Retail, in which we printed over 1.6m unique-every-time QR codes onto the retailers’ milk bottles, proved unequivocally that households would be able to redeem their deposits from home, a key component of a DDRS.
“We were equally frustrated that concerns over a digital model were raised regarding set-up and ongoing costs pertaining to increased fraud. Unique-every-time QR codes are in fact proven to reduce fraud and theft by preventing the multiple redemption of deposits by individual actors, a risk that persists with the RVM model.
“In spite of this, we are confident that a DDRS will be included in the October 2025 roll out. It is clear consumers want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling, and a convenient digital model, that enables them to build on their current recycling habits and understanding of QR codes and smartphones, is best placed to support them with their intentions.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the Government to assuage the doubts expressed in this response, by continuing to demonstrate, alongside major brands and retailers, the technology is already at our fingertips, and that a DDRS is a reality.”