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Big retailers 'must commit' to plastic bottle deposit scheme

Credit: PA Images

Big retailers must support a scheme that gives people their money back when they return drinks containers according to the Marine Conservation Society.

The Welsh Government is currently consulting on the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme.

This would see people charged an extra fee when they buy a bottle or a can, which can be redeemed if the empty item is taken back to be recycled.

Wales currently has the third best recycling rate in the world with 75% of plastic being recycled but the Welsh Government wants to know if a DRS could increase this.

It is currently asking the public, retailers and drinks manufacturers for their opinions on the scheme.

Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/PA Images

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says big retailers must support the scheme and commit to the recycling of bottles of all sizes.

We believe putting a value on items like glass and plastic bottles and cans will lead to behaviour change. We need a deposit return scheme in Wales which will increase recycling rates, reduce beach litter and help meet our well-being goal of being a globally responsible Wales.

– Gill Bell, MCS Head of Conservation in Wales

Some sections of the industry have suggested an “on the go” scheme which would only include the smallest bottles and containers.

But the Marine Conservation Society says that in countries where this has been tried, retailers and manufacturers have simply switched sizes or material to get around the rules.

Plastic bottles can make their way into waterways Credit: PA Images

The aim of the public consultation is to make sure a Deposit Return Scheme would work and that people would find it easy to return empty containers.

The Welsh Government will also look at the impact on local authority collection of materials, how it will impact on people's grocery bills in particular those from lower socio-economic groups as well as other issues such as carbon emissions from increased transport and movement.

The consultation will remain open until the 13 May.