DRS consultation launch

In March, ministers launched a fresh consultation regarding the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With the industry and campaigners still split on how the system should work, Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, provided the following comment:

“Aiming to tackle plastic pollution, increase recycling rates, improve recyclate quality and minimise litter, England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is set to be rolled-out over the next few years. However, the unique market dynamics of the UK mean that simply ‘importing’ a DRS scheme from other countries is not guaranteed to deliver success. As such, adopting best practice design and taking all available insight into consideration will prove pivotal.

“In January, we released a comprehensive report, developed in partnership with independent think-tank London Economics, to analyse the implications of implementing a flat rate versus a variable rate deposit fee. The findings were clear – a flat rate DRS would result in 10% lower return rates for the first two years for all containers, plastic would further dominate the beverage packaging on supermarket shelves and the UK’s thriving aluminium industry, which employs more than 20,000 workers nationwide, would be faced with the real possibility of plant closures.

“Conversely, a variable rate fee would see the government achieve its 90% return rate target almost a year earlier, leading to a higher recycling rate and less litter on the streets – in essence, the best solution by far from an environmental and economic perspective. While there have been suggestions that a variable rate would be far too complex for shoppers, recent research disproves this view, with consumers overwhelmingly supporting higher deposits for larger containers.

“As consultations commence, it’s imperative that the government takes the valuable views of consumers and the packaging industry into close consideration when discussing introduction and implementation. Failure to do so could prove disastrous.”



Brits back best practice DRS scheme design, finds YouGov research

  • New research disproves claims that a variable rate DRS would be too complex
  • 85% of respondents considered a variable rate system ‘easy to understand’
  • 61% of respondents support higher deposits for larger containers

New research released earlier today (17 March) disproves the claim that a variable rate deposit return scheme (DRS) would be too complex for consumers. The YouGov insight suggests that 85% of Brits consider a variable system easy to understand and support higher deposits for larger containers.

Commissioned by Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, 2,000 adults across Britain were surveyed about best practice DRS design and whether a variable rate deposit fee would add unnecessary confusion.

The results firmly rebutted this view, with more than four in five respondents suggesting that the concept of a DRS was easy to grasp (84%), and that the idea of varying the deposit value based on container size was equally simplistic (85%). Just over half of adults (55%) agreed that the deposit fee should be lower for smaller items and higher for larger ones, while three in ten (30%) thought the deposit amount should be the same across all sizes of packaging. Only a small minority admitted that they were undecided (15%).

These findings contradict government research from 2019, which suggested that a variable rate would be far too complex for householders.* Public understanding of deposit return schemes has changed significantly and appreciation of best practice design has fast become a discussion point.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “Adopting best practice design from the outset will prove pivotal to the long-term success of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s deposit return scheme.

“Our independent research aimed to analyse real-world views regarding awareness of DRS design and understanding of deposit fees. According to the results, it’s safe to say that now, more than ever, householders want the best solution for the future – not the cheapest or the fastest.

“As the government discusses the design of our national scheme, we implore senior decision makers to take these findings into close consideration and not to choose simplicity over sustainability. The success of the scheme is important for every household, so we’re calling for their views to be recognised.”

Timiko Cranwell, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, added: “Budweiser Brewing Group is committed to promoting circular packaging and responsible consumption. We believe that a variable rate deposit level is the foundation of a well-designed DRS, as it allows individuals to manage their own consumption, without incentivising the purchase of larger containers, or higher alcohol content, in the interest of saving money.”

Aiming to tackle plastic pollution, increase recycling rates, improve recyclate quality and minimise litter, England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s long-awaited DRS is expected to come into force in 2023. The scheme will see a deposit value added to the price of a beverage product in store, which will be refunded to the customer when empty packaging is returned to a designated collection point.

While a variable rate fee would see containers allocated with a deposit value based on container size, a flat rate model would apply a fixed fee to all beverage containers. This unsophisticated approach could see customers charged an additional £4.80 for a 24-can multipack (on top of product purchase price) compared to just 80p for a 2 litre plastic bottle.



All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2001 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 19th February 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Alupro launches free Welsh language resources for primary school pupils

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has announced the roll-out of its successful education programme to primary schools across Wales. Classrooms nationwide are invited to participate in the initiative, which aims to educate students about the benefits of recycling.

The manga-themed Key Stage 2 (KS2) programme introduces pupils to heroine ‘Ally Minium’ and her warriors who together embark on a mission to defeat evil ‘Land Phil’, who is threatening to take over the planet. A fun introductory video leads to an exciting interactive lesson with pupils becoming ‘Masters of Infinity’. There’s also a fantastic competition giving pupils the chance of winning a Nintendo Switch Lite and a £250 book voucher for their school.

The education programme has a general recycling theme with a focus on the importance of aluminium packaging recycling. Designed to inspire a long-term commitment to recycling for pupils and parents alike. The free resources can be taught in the classroom or at home.

Rick Hindley, Executive Director at Alupro, commented: “We’re extremely proud to play our part in educating the next generation about the circular properties of aluminium packaging. At Alupro, we thoroughly enjoy working with pupils to increase awareness and encourage behavioural change, which they can take home to their families.”

So far, the English language version of the resources have been downloaded more than 580 times across the UK and Ireland. Rick added: “We’ve been really impressed with the competition entries to date. We’ve now launched a second competition specifically for Schools in Wales and we’re really looking forward to seeing the additional entries and the exciting adventures students create. Good luck to everyone who participates!”

For more information, or to download the educational resources, visit: https://learningaluminium.co.uk/masters-of-inifinity/.

Alupro launches new website to educate consumers about the importance of recycling

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has unveiled its brand-new Recycle Aluminium website, to educate consumers about the infinitely recyclable benefits of aluminium packaging. Working to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet recycling targets, the site is an educational hub, featuring the latest data, how-to guides, blog posts, videos, fact sheets and more.

In the UK alone, more than 12 billion items of aluminium packaging are sold every year – from beverage cans and foil trays, to cooking foil, aerosol containers, caps and closures. Harnessing the circular properties of aluminium, Alupro aims to educate consumers about the benefits of recycling.

However, while 56% of the UK’s aluminium was recycled in 2019, we still have a way to go to achieve our target of 100%. Education and information is key to further improving recycling rates and the new website aims to inspire, inform and encourage national behavioural change.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “Last year, more aluminium packaging was collected for reprocessing than ever before. At Alupro, we are striving to achieve our vision of  a recycling rate close to 100%, with information and education playing a pivotal role. Our new website will not only provide valuable information to consumers, but also encourage households to make better and more informed decisions when it comes to disposing of their valuable aluminium packaging.

“With a whole host of useful advice articles, blogs, videos and fact sheets, each explaining how, when and why we should recycle, we hope it will prove a valuable resource.”

Consumers are encouraged to view the new website here – https://recyclealuminium.org.uk/ . For more information about Alupro, visit www.alupro.org.uk.