LARAC (The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, which was formed in 1985 to represent the emerging voice of local government recycling officers), has firmly stated during consultation that a DRS should be deferred until after policies on EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and Consistency have had a chance to work. LARAC added that deferring will ‘also allow proper research into the possibility of a digital based DRS in the UK as well as understanding the full impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic might have on the operation of a DRS.’
LARAC believes the emergence of a digital DRS solution utilising the existing kerbside and bring back collection infrastructure is worth taking time to consider in more detail. LARAC wants to see further trials and research into how a digital DRS could operate and the issues that might need to be overcome. LARAC thinks the early results are positive and that a digital based system has the potential to implement DRS in a cost-effective way, reducing costs to producers and making the most of the current infrastructure.
‘A Deposit Return Scheme based on Reverse Vending Machines is costly.’
‘The case for deferring a DRS is stronger now than it has even been’, said Carole Taylor, Chair, LARAC. ‘The Consistency and EPR proposals are saying they will improve material quality and so a DRS using digital technology and kerbside collections makes perfect sense. Further trials and research need to be done so we can see how a digital DRS system can be made to work. A DRS based on Reverse Vending Machines is costly and is mostly just displacing existing recycling from efficient kerbside systems to an expensive network of RVMs, that would have been redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
On the subject of payments to local authorities for DRS materials in the kerbside, LARAC members have stated a preference for a system based on compositional analysis rather than trying to redeem deposits themselves. The latter option was not supported and was viewed as being unwieldy and largely unworkable.
If a DRS were to go ahead in 2024 using RVMs then LARAC would want to see an ‘on the go’ scheme implemented. LARAC believes this will have more impact on litter and be less disruptive for the current kerbside collections. In a poll of LARAC members an “on the go” DRS was the second favoured option for a DRS after the option of DRS being deferred, which was a clear preference amongst LARAC members.
More on the DRS on Planet Vending, HERE