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Deposit scheme for bottles urged

A deposit refund scheme for glass and plastic drinks bottles could reduce litter and boost recycling rates, new research has suggested.

Charging people a small fee for buying bottles and cans which would then be given back to consumers would cut waste, the report compiled for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said.

It claimed a deposit of 15p for containers smaller than 500ml and 30p for larger ones would lead to 90% being returned for recycling.

The report entitled "Have we got the bottle? Implementing a deposit refund scheme in the UK" was prepared for the organisation by Eunomia Research & Consulting.

It added the scheme could reduce costs to the public sector by £160 million a year - the equivalent of £7 per household.

The CPRE said the introduction of such an idea would aid the Government in trying to achieve a "zero waste" economy by increasing recycling.

Bill Bryson, CPRE president, said: "These findings throw rational and informed light on an issue that is nonsensically contentious in the UK. What sensible nation would not want to capture and recycle its precious and finite resources? What discerning people would not want to enjoy a litter-free environment?

"CPRE has published this research to reignite the debate, so that an effective mechanism which delivers environmental and social benefits in many other countries can be given its proper consideration in the UK."

Researchers estimated setting up such a scheme would take an initial £84 million investment, spread over one or two years.

They added the running costs of the scheme - approximately £700 million per year - would be met by unclaimed deposits and by the drinks industry.

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