DRS trial: ‘Overwhelming majority’ prefers recycling at home over vending machines

The first whole-town trial of a digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) has shown a preference for bottles to be recycled at home rather than at reverse vending machines (RVMs) in supermarkets.

According to The Grocer, the trial – carried out in Brecon, Wales – showed 75% of those taking part have been returning bottles and cartons at the kerbside, compared to 25% using return machines set up in retail.

Although the trial has been extended until November, the organisation behind it claims the evidence already strongly suggests a digital system could save the industry ‘hundreds of millions’.

Under the trial, people can claim 10p for every specially-marked bottle they recycle, such as glass and cartons, by scanning it with an app prior to either putting in bins at home or using mini-RVMs installed at retail locations.

However, there is now growing evidence that suggests a network of RVMs in supermarkets are obsolete even before launch, with the Scottish government having shelved its launch earlier this year.

The trial follows calls from the BRC for the UK government to shelve its plans for a DRS rollout in October 2025, with supermarket bosses warning the system could cost almost £2bn a year to run.

Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free

Sign up here to get the latest grocery and food news each morning

Founder of Circularity Solutions Ltd, Duncan Midwood, told The Grocer that the results from the trial so far showed the “overwhelming majority” choose to return their drink containers at home.

“There had been concerns about the compliance issue – basically whether consumers would do what they say they do after scanning the item – but we have inspected 400 bins and analysed the contents and the compliance is between 90%-95%, suggesting people do.

“Of course this is Brecon and the question is would something like this work as well in the middle of Manchester, for example,” he added.

“But that is the whole point of this trial, and the key thing is it suggests people support a digital system. Of course this is without any of the mass publicity that would be in place were this a national launch.”

The news comes as the government’s DRS was delayed by at least another year as the already delayed October 2025 start date is deemed unachievable.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.



Sign up to our daily newsletter to get all the latest grocery news and insights direct to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.