Confusion among consumers risks undermining the UK government's much-heralded Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), a new study by Tetra Pak has found.
According to the study, some 59% of consumers said that they would be 'confused' by the DRS unless it was consistent with household recycling collections, while 46% said that they would be more likely to use the DRS if it included a wider range of materials.
The UK government announced plans to introduce the DRS in 2019, with the aim of reducing littering, and promoting recycling. The scheme was expected to come into effect in 2023, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Unsure What DRS Entails
However, Tetra Pak's study found that 58% of consumers still don't understand what the scheme entails.
In addition, there is some confusion over what materials can be accepted as part of the DRS – more than a third (38%) incorrectly assume drinks cartons and HDPE plastic containers (38%) are already included.
“The situation is clear. The British public is willing and excited to use the new Deposit Return Scheme, but confusion over which materials are included risks undermining it," commented Alex Henriksen, managing director of Tetra Pak North Europe.
“Clearly the most straightforward, user-friendly DRS is one that includes a wide range of materials, and offers a digital option, allowing consumers to engage with the scheme from home.”
Reasons For Optimism
The study found that there are some reasons for optimism, however, with two thirds (67%) of consumers indicating that they would use the new DRS recycling system once it was introduced.
“Our industry has consistently called for the inclusion of cartons in the UK DRS from launch," Henriksen added.
"The limited model proposed by the government risks confusing consumers who are used to recycling a wider range of materials via other routes."
Some 2,024 UK nationally representative adults were surveyed by Opinion Matters for the study, between 29 October and 1 November 2021.