UK retailers Co-op and Iceland have come out in support of a bottle deposit-return scheme, which is being proposed by environmental organisation Greenpeace.
The proposed plan would see retailers increase the price of plastic bottles, but allow customers to get their money back when they return the empty bottles.
Greenpeace says that the scheme, which has already been introduced in several other countries, would reduce the amount of plastic waste in the oceans and benefit long-term sustainability.
Although several groups have come out in support of such a plan, Iceland and the Co-op have become the first retailers in the UK to back the bottle deposit-return scheme.
“Deposit-return schemes work,” said Richard Walker, director for sustainability at Iceland Foods.
“In Norway, theirs has led to 96% of all bottles being returned, with similar results in other countries that have adopted a DRS. Britain urgently needs to do the same,” Walker continued.
“Introducing a DRS may well add to our costs of doing business,” he added, “however, we believe it is a small price to pay for the long-term sustainability of this planet. I urge all other retailers to do the right thing and follow suit.”
Meanwhile, Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said, “We are committed to ensuring all of our own packaging will be recyclable, and we are firm supporters of initiatives designed to boost recycling levels.
“The Co-op is in favour of creating a deposit-return scheme which increases the overall recycling of packaging and significantly reduces litter, and, importantly, helps tackle marine pollution.”
Frozen-food retailer Iceland has also offered to host a ‘reverse vending machine’ in a number of its stores for the government to trial, which would allow customers to return their bottles and automatically receive a cash refund or voucher.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.