Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn today visited Darren Park Primary School in Ferndale to highlight the Welsh Government’s consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.
The school is one of many eco-schools in Wales and its eco-committee has been working to reduce its plastic use and the school regularly joins in litter picks in the local area.
If a DRS is to be introduced in Wales, shoppers would be expected to pay a deposit on plastic, glass and metal drinks containers (excluding milk containers) and would have to manually return empty containers to collection points in order to claim back their deposit, rather than use household waste collections provided by their councils.
The Deputy Minister encouraged the eco-committee to respond to the consultation which has been summarised and made available to all eco-schools in Wales. It asks pupils whether they think people would be happy to pay more for a drink and have the extra money refunded when they take the container back to a shop or whether they would prefer to continue with the current system of putting containers out for councils to collect.
Hannah Blythyn said:
It has been an absolute pleasure to visit Darren Park Primary School today and to talk to the pupils about plastic use and the pros and cons of a deposit return scheme. They have all been very engaged in the discussion and have come up with some excellent ideas of how we can reduce our plastic waste and encourage more people to recycle.
If we can make rejecting single use plastic and reusing or recycling as much as possible second nature to the next generation we will have made a big step in improving our environment. Judging by today’s discussion, the future is in very safe hands. The children are committed to helping Wales become the number one recycling nation in the world and to making sure their communities also rise to the challenge.
The Welsh Government is also part of two other joint, UK wide consultations. The first on Extended Producer Responsibility aims to ensure that producers bear the waste management cost of the products they place onto the market, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle. The other proposes a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
The Deputy Minister added:
Plastic waste and packaging waste are important issues, for everybody, not just our children. Every year in the UK, we generate around 11 million tonnes of packaging waste as a whole 2.3 million tonnes of which is plastic packaging waste.
Wales is a world leader in recycling but we want to go further, we want to take action to minimise the amount of packaging we use, and incentivise better design of products and packaging, so that it can be reused or easily recycled. This could stimulate economic opportunities for Wales and support our aim to become a more circular economy.
I would therefore urge people in Wales to read and respond to the consultations to make sure Wales’ voice is heard on these issues.