Resource Futures collaborates on carbon modelling for deposit return schemes

20 March 2023

Contracted by Local Partnerships, Resource Futures will provide specialist technical input for developing a carbon assessment of a traditional return-to-retail deposit return scheme (DRS) and a digital DRS. The work will support future Welsh Government decision making.

Wales plans to introduce a deposit return scheme by 2025 that would build upon the nation’s world-leading recycling rates and reduce litter. International examples show deposit return schemes can successfully improve recycling for drinks bottles, with rates above 90% in Germany, Finland and Norway. A digital option for DRS has the potential to work well in Wales given the high-quality household recycling currently achieved and to provide added convenience for its citizens.

This is the first carbon assessment to compare traditional return-to-retail and digital DRS in Wales. Working collaboratively with the Welsh Government and Local Partnerships, Resource Futures will offer technical support in system designs of both traditional and digital DRS and deliver lifecycle-based methodological support for carbon modelling work.

We are really pleased to work with Local Partnerships on such a significant project. This carbon accounting of deposit return schemes in Wales will further develop to fit the local context in England and elsewhere, which is essential in monitoring the progress of achieving carbon reduction and the net zero carbon target by 2050.

Nirmala Menikpura, Principal Consultant/Carbon Specialist at Resource Futures

Where other studies have focussed on cost and convenience, this study aims to understand if digital can further support decarbonisation and the target for net zero carbon by 2050. Understanding net carbon emissions of both traditional return-to-retail and digital DRS will be a vital consideration for supporting the legislative requirements and expectations of a future deposit management organisation (DMO) and how it implements DRS.

This is an important step forwards in assessing the best possible implementation for DRS in Wales and the UK. Understanding the environmental impacts of DRS is crucial to good policy making and carbon emissions are a big part of that question. This study follows our previous research on digital DRS for the Welsh Government, the digital DRS Industry Working Group and WRAP Cymru.

George Cole, Director at Resource Futures

Learn more about our previous research on behalf of the Digital DRS Industry Working Group where we co-developed a solution for digital DRS, working with experts from beverage, waste and IT sectors.