The brewing and pub industry has a good record on recycling and should be exempt from any deposit scheme that emerges from a current Government consultation – this is the key message from the British Beer & Pub Association in its response to the Defra call-for-evidence on the issue.
The BBPA believes that on current evidence, a universal deposit scheme on all beverage containers would create “another unnecessary pressure for the industry”. With the current Government focus rightly on tackling plastic waste, the response argues that litter and waste is not such an issue with more typical beer and pub industry glass and aluminium cans, both of which are widely recycled and make up a very small proportion of litter.
The current Packaging Return Note (PRN) system has been successful in improving recycling rates and the associated infrastructure required. The BBPA also operates SUSTAIN, its own, not-for-profit packaging waste compliance scheme specifically for the drinks industry and has worked with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Incpen to reduce overall waste and packaging in the hospitality sector. The BBPA signed up to the voluntary agreement, the Courtauld Commitment 2025, and is keen to continue working with WRAP to reduce waste in this sector.
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simonds comments:
“It is right that the Government should focus on plastic waste from on-the-go consumption. The beer and pub industry contributes a significant amount to the current recycling infrastructure through the PRN system, ensuring a high rate of recycling of glass bottles and cans. With 93% of beer sales in pubs from reusable kegs and casks this also displaces billions of individual containers in each year. A deposit scheme would impose new costs on pubs, which already face big financial pressures. It is important therefore that pubs are exempt from any deposit scheme.”