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Whatever happens to bottle deposit return schemes?

I remember it was pretty common in the 1980s and after.
Why did it stop? Surely it was of some help to the environment, so I'm surprised we've sort of went the other way since then.

Replies

  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    It stopped because, from the manufacturer's point-of-view, it was more trouble than it was worth.  I don't suppose the environment was ever a consideration in the decision.
    Most products come in plastic bottles these days, which are worth almost nothing to the manufacturer.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • edited 15 June 2020 at 8:48PM
    EricMearsEricMears Forumite
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    edited 15 June 2020 at 8:48PM
    Ectophile said:
    It stopped because, from the manufacturer's point-of-view, it was more trouble than it was worth.  I don't suppose the environment was ever a consideration in the decision.
    Most products come in plastic bottles these days, which are worth almost nothing to the manufacturer.
    Indeed,  its easy to believe that the cost of a new plastic bottle is rather less than the transport & admin costs of running a deposit scheme !  Also,  there must be transport savings resulting from the lower weight compared to (say) a glass bottle.

    But providing the bottle can be recycled there's no real 'environmental loss' involved; maybe even a saving when you consider transport costs and CO2 emissions ?
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  • jackrabbit123jackrabbit123 Forumite
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    We were in Scandinavia this time last year and every supermarket ( and recycling port) we visited there was always a 'bottle bank' for glass and bottle bank for plastic, and tins ,  DS found it great as when we had finished with our bottles we'd take them down to the bottle bank and they would be pushed through what can only be described as is a long conveyor belt , you'd put the bottles in one at a time and a recipet would come to you at the end with money off from the shop you were using. I remember when we used to get glass pop bottles as kids and we'd give then back in exchange for a few pence, it was the start of learning about money and also recycling, it's a shame it was started again but now forgotten about!
  • edited 18 June 2020 at 8:17PM
    pinnkspinnks Forumite
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    edited 18 June 2020 at 8:17PM
    They do the same in Germany for glass and plastic bottles and because they tend to buy drinks by the crate, you can feed crates in at the bottom.  When you feed single plastic  bottles in they are crushed by the machine for packing and recycling rather than re-use. Not sure why we are so reluctant in the UK to introduce such a scheme?

    Cans are, I think, just recycled locally in ordinary can banks on street corners etc as are non-return bottles, split between clear, green and brown plus paper, books and things we also see here.  

    We are also not that hot on recycling juice cartons (probably local council related), though I watched a German TV item 30 years ago which showed they are 100% re-usable.  They chopped them into crisp-size pieces and put them in a rotating tank.  The cardboard dissolved out and was used to make high quality brown wrapping paper.  The remaining plastic film and aluminium flakes were used in the cement industry.  Aluminium to replace some of the bauxite that would otherwise be needed and the plastic film added energy to the furnace.  Not sure if they are still doing this...   
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