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Welsh Conservative calls for a 10p bottle deposit scheme to increase recycling rates in Wales

Welsh Conservatives are today calling for a pilot of a bottle deposit scheme to reduce litter.

The calls come ahead of a Welsh Conservative debate on Wednesday which focuses on environmental crime in Wales.

The motion urges the current Welsh Government to “explore innovative solutions to further promote recycling”, and a Welsh Conservative Government in May would work with producers, retailers and environmental bodies to set up a pilot in Wales.

The smallest retailers would be exempt.

Welsh Conservatives believe that such a scheme would significantly increase recycling rates as well as cutting litter in Wales; 75% of which is said to consist of drinks containers in the UK.

The motion for debate

The National Assembly for Wales:

  • Regrets that levels of litter, dog fouling, fly-tipping and graffiti continue to blight many local communities across Wales.
  • Calls on the Welsh Government to examine the necessity to work with Local Authorities to explore increasing penalties for environmental crime.
  • Recognises the role that recycling can play in minimising waste and ensuring cleaner communities across Wales;
  • and urges the Welsh Government to explore innovative solutions to further promote recycling.

Speaking ahead of the debate, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies said:

“Ultimately, we need to be willing to embrace innovative ideas to reduce waste. It’s about changing our mentality about the litter we generate.

“Deposit refund schemes operate effectively the world over, and can financially incentivise recycling and reduce waste significantly.

“A pilot scheme could play a key role in initiating a fundamental culture shift in Wales, as well as tackling the source of three-quarters of the litter we see on our streets each day.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Environment, Janet Haworth, is leading the Senedd debate for the Conservatives on Wednesday.

She will say:

“Local Authorities in Wales have just ten years to reach an ambitious 70 per cent target for recycling, and as that deadline approaches it’s going to become harder and harder to make a difference.

“But it’s not just about hitting a target, it’s about respecting and preserving the beautiful country we live in.

“No part of Wales is unaffected by the scourge of litter; from our streets, to our waterways, and our parks.

“That’s why the Welsh Government has to be ambitious and willing to explore innovative schemes such as these, and a Welsh Conservative Government in May would take steps to introduce a pilot scheme here in Wales.”

With similar schemes operating throughout the world there are several options, but many organisations in the UK – including Friends of the Earth Cymru – favour a system based on the installation of ‘reverse vending machines’ in larger retail outlets.

In Norway, for example, the process is known as ‘Pant’; In 2006, 92% of metal cans and 82% of PET bottles were returned. In New York, meanwhile, a similar scheme is described as “the single most effective law in our State’s history at diminishing litter… and in encouraging recycling” (G Oliver Koppell – New York City Councilman).

The Swedish scheme is said to achieve recycling rates of 85% and generates high value materials to feed Sweden’s recycling industries