UK-wide deposit scheme for plastic bottles makes sense, says SUEZ CEO

Written by: David Palmer-Jones | Published:
David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, responds to the proposed UK-wide plastic bottle deposit scheme for recycling.

Investing in a UK-wide deposit scheme for plastic bottles makes not just environmental sense but, importantly, economic sense too - putting pounds in the pockets of both households and business through reduced waste disposal costs and reduced need to buy virgin raw materials.

The country has already made huge leaps in the past decade, shifting from a throw-away society to culture of re-use and recycling, but we can't waste an opportunity to make further improvements.

For many years I lived and worked in Sweden, which has long had similar bottle deposit schemes in place, so have seen first-hand just how effective these systems can be at improving recycling, and how well they can be embraced by society.

A bottle deposit scheme would help consumers and producers make the step-change required to reinvigorate the country’s stalling recycling performance and help us to unlock the value in packaging as a commodity, which can be put back into the supply chain rather than throwing it away.

A bottle deposit scheme, starting with plastic containers, is a practical first step towards more circular industrial practices and is just one of the forms of government intervention our sector has been calling for, within a wider package of measures, to ensure that the UK’s emerging industrial strategy is a sustainable one. This really is a win-win solution for the environment, manufacturers and ordinary households who are ready to help bring about change.

At the moment, government seems to be quick to rule out the introduction of various schemes such as this, but we have yet to see much in the way of positive alternative direction from them in addressing the problems we face with both flat-lining recycling rates and litter.


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