Would you return a can or bottle to get 15p back? If a new proposal to reintroduce the money-back bottle scheme gets the go-ahead you could soon be doing just that.
Hands up if you remember collecting up old bottles and taking them back to the shop for a few pennies?
I’d rather not reveal my age here, but it’s certainly something I have vague recollections of.
Well, thanks to a new proposal from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the money-back bottle scheme could be set for a comeback.
How much will the scheme cost?
For those of you too young (or with memory too faded) to remember, it would work like this: when you buy a can, glass or plastic bottle containing under a pint it would cost you 15p more than it does now. Anything that holds more than a pint would cost an extra 30p. When you’ve finished you return it to the shop and get your money back.
It all sounds pretty straightforward to me, but apparently it would be costly to implement. CPRE reckons it would cost £84m to set up, plus £700m a year in running costs. Phew.
They’ve also estimated that £500m of this would be covered by deposits paid on bottles that are never returned, with drinks manufacturers being responsible for the remaining £200m.
Are you for or against?
The proposal has its fair share of supporters, as well as doomsayers. David Cameron is keen to support the revival, but supermarkets and other retailers insist it’s expensive and goes against council recycling schemes.
Yes, it’s evidently going to be costly, but shouldn’t we consider the bigger picture? The wider benefits of this kind of scheme are obvious. Up to 30p extra on bottles and cans is a pretty hefty hike. Paying extra will make people more aware of the cost – both financially and to the environment – of consuming so much.
I remember children making a real effort to collect unwanted bottles in order to make some ‘easy’ cash. Returning to this scheme will mean children grow up more aware of the need to return and reuse, as well as encouraging a culture where we don’t take packaging for granted. How can that be bad?