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World’s first digital deposit return scheme trial in Wales a success

The trial of Wales’ pioneering Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) has emerged triumphant, heralded as a milestone success in encouraging recycling participation. Deposit return schemes (DRS) globally promote the recycling of drinks containers, and the Brecon trial has innovatively digitised this process, allowing deposits to be redeemed conveniently from home.

Unlike traditional methods, Brecon’s trial employed cutting-edge technology to digitally scan containers, facilitating remote deposit reclamation. Residents were incentivised with a 10p reward for each eligible item returned, a move aimed at bolstering recycling rates.

The DDRS Scan|Recycle|Reward initiative in Brecon, spearheaded by the DDRS Alliance with support from Welsh Government, Powys County Council, WRAP’s Collaborative Change Programme, and local retailers, witnessed remarkable engagement. A staggering 18,794 rewards were claimed, averaging more than four per household.

Reflecting on the trial’s success, stakeholders emphasise the Welsh community’s receptiveness to digital deposit return schemes. Huw Irranca-Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, extends gratitude to Brecon’s populace for their pivotal role in shaping Wales’ recycling landscape. He underscores the trial’s contribution to advancing Wales’ recycling objectives and fostering a circular economy ethos.

During the trial, various return methods were trialled, accommodating diverse user preferences. Participants could opt for kerbside returns, automated return points (ARPs), community bins, or over-the-counter (OTC) returns. Notably, kerbside returns emerged as the favoured choice, highlighting the convenience and popularity of integrating DDRS with existing recycling infrastructure.

Results from the trial revealed robust compliance, with 97.6% of containers returned via home collection seamlessly integrated into the recycling stream. Fraud and misuse were negligible, attesting to the scheme’s integrity.

Matt Perry, Powys County Council’s Chief Officer, lauds the enthusiastic participation of Brecon’s residents, visitors, and retailers. He envisions a future where digital deposit return schemes seamlessly complement existing recycling services, underscoring the potential to streamline container returns while minimising carbon footprint.