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Deposit on plastic bottles would have little impact on recycling – Green MT

Proposals in 2006 had been shot down

Green MT has warned that deposit schemes can actually increase recycling rates but that this is not always the case, adding that they have been shown to be costly and ineffective in unique societal and economic contexts.

The waste management firm said that the government was mulling the introduction of Deposit Return Systems (DRS) for plastic bottle recycling, but that when this had been proposed in 2006, it was shelved after heavy opposition from producers, retailers and other stakeholders.

“Studies conducted way back clearly show that deposit schemes are expensive to run and maintain and do not offset the benefits. Countries like Germany and Denmark, which have both tried such schemes, have been faced with the soaring costs involved in maintaining the system, costs which the consumer will have to bear.

Favoured by consumers, pavement-side collection does not involve hassling the commercial establishments

“Targeting the beverage sector is not the ideal scenario. The business community has declared a market placement of 10,485 tons of plastics and recycled 54% in 2016. This is well beyond the legal obligation of producers and their schemes,” it said.

“Numerous experiments have been conducted in the past and the scheme that was the most successful was always the pavement-side collection system. Favoured by consumers, pavement-side collection does not involve hassling the commercial establishments. Any involvement of commercial establishments creates an added cost to any new infrastructure in place.”

Green MT said it was open to discuss with the government on the most appropriate waste recycling and recovery scheme, which would reflect the broader waste streams and not only plastic bottles emanating from the beverage sector.

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