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Viridor statement following deposit return scheme announcement

28th March 2018

Viridor, the UK’s biggest recycling company, looks forward to working with the Government on a deposit-return scheme which ensures waste is valued as a resource, rather than rubbish, kept off our beaches and out of oceans and put back in the British economy where it belongs.

With its current investment and plans for expansion in specialist recycling facilities – including dedicated plastics and glass plants in England and Scotland – and a plastics reprocessing facility in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, which provides plastic pellets and flakes to manufacturers, Viridor is uniquely positioned to play a major role in the consultation process. The company also has an extensive collection fleet across the UK to support increased recycling ambitions.

The final deposit return scheme should deliver the practical benefits needed to boost not only collection but reprocessing to ensure circular economy goals are achieved.

Importantly, a UK-wide scheme, rather than separate schemes introduced by the Devolved Administrations, offers the greatest potential benefits and convenience for customers.

There are many successful deposit return schemes operating in other countries, such as in northern Europe and Western Australia, elements of which could suit the UK.  Any well-designed policy and regulation that will lead to an increase in recycling quality and participation is welcome, and Viridor looks forward to the detail and consultation.

The success of a DRS will depend on the design and competitiveness of the chosen scheme, i.e. the scope of the materials to be included and how the material collected at retail points is then made available to the recycling and reprocessing markets.

Overlaying a DRS onto existing recycling collections and services will create impacts for local authorities and their contracted service providers.  This will need to be carefully considered to ensure that we build on, rather than detract from, the progress made in municipal recycling to date.

It will also be important to consider the interaction between the proposed DRS and other regulatory measures, including the forthcoming revised packaging regulations, which could have a much greater overall positive impact on improved resource efficiency and resource management in the UK.

Forecast benefits from deposit return schemes have primarily focused on litter prevention. It will be important to model the actual capture rates and material flows to fully assess wider benefits for recycling and resource efficiency.

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