UK – Consumers in the United Kingdom strongly prefer the idea of a digitalized deposit return scheme (DRS) as the UK’s four nations draw closer to implementing or updating their systems.

As per a survey commissioned by Reward4Waste and conducted by research agency OnePoll, nearly two-thirds (63%) of people would prefer a digital deposit return scheme using an app at home or on the go; either as a stand-alone facility or as part of a hybrid system.

Out of a representative sample of 2000 adults, only 25% would opt for a return-to-store system only, while 12% either did not know or were unsure what system they would prefer.

Exploring the full scope of a DRS, 54% wanted to see glass bottles included (currently glass is likely to be excluded in England and NI, but not in Scotland or Wales).

When asked to select other items they would like to see included, 50 % cited drinks cartons; 47% food containers; 41% newspapers; 36% scrap paper and 35%toilet roll tubes.

Considering rewards for good recycling behavior, 52% of respondents claimed they would be more inclined to recycle if there was a reward for doing so.

Responding to a statement: “I would like to be rewarded for good recycling with treats and offers from brands and retailers,” 57% strongly or somewhat strongly agreed, while around 26% neither agreed nor disagreed. Just one in ten disagreed with the statement outright.

Asked to consider how frequently they might use in-store reverse vending machines if such a system were introduced, a third of respondents believed they would make weekly deposits, while 16% thought bi-weekly, and 15% monthly.

Tony McGurk, chairman, Reward4Waste, said: “A Digital DRS will also provide opportunities for brand owners and retailers to recognize, encourage and reward good recycling behavior, and in doing so help meet the challenging recycling targets currently being set.

“Notwithstanding the obvious call for glass drinks bottles to be included in the initial scheme, it’s also interesting to see how consumers are keen to see a deposit return scheme extended beyond drinks containers to include other product packaging and recyclable waste.”

56 % of respondents agreed that technology could help with environmental issues such as recycling and 37% believed that by 2050, apps to help with recycling would be mainstream.

Thinking about the tech they could imagine being mainstream by 2050, an app to help with recycling came in third place after a smart fridge that manages shelf life and restocks itself, and autonomous, self-driving cars topped the poll.

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