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Deposit Return Scheme needed now more than ever

Keep Wales Tidy, has published its annual All Wales Report for 2023-24, which provides the only consistent and robust measure of street litter data for the whole of Wales.

This year, Keep Wales Tidy surveyed 3,161 streets across Wales between April 2023 and January 2024, with results representing streets adopted by local authorities alone and not extending to parks, beaches or busy roads, meaning results likely present a significant underestimate.

Drinks litter was present on 43.6% of streets, with levels in individual counties ranging considerably from 19.4% of streets to 86.1%.

Aluminium cans are consistently the most common drinks receptacle, found on 18.1% of streets, 3 percentage points higher than 2022-23, and the occurrence of glass bottles has more than doubled over the last four years, increasing to 5.2% of streets.

With a clear upwards trend for cans, glass, and plastic bottles, all of which provide good quality materials for recycling, Keep Wales Tidy is again calling on Ministers to implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) by 2025.

The All Wales Report provides a vital insight into the standard of street cleanliness across Wales and we will continue to use this data to advise on change and policy revision. The prevalence of drinks litter is beyond frustrating when the solution - a comprehensive DRS - is within our grasp. We're urgently calling on governments across the UK to prevent further delays and proceed with rolling out the scheme.

Owen Derbyshire
Keep Wales Tidy Chief Executive Officer

A recent YouGov poll showed that two-thirds of the UK public support the introduction of a DRS scheme, and 36% support a deposit of up to 20p per container.

More than 40 countries have already successfully implemented a DRS, including Latvia where a 61% reduction in littered plastic containers has been seen since introducing the scheme in 2022.

Keep Wales Tidy hosted a webinar, on Monday 11 March, with Reloop, Friends of the Earth Cymru, and Circular Economy experts from Latvian NGO, Green Liberty, for Members of the Senedd to hear about the international context of DRS, the benefits of Wales’s current approach to DRS and how implementing this must continue at pace. 

This webinar aims to maintain momentum on the subject of DRS in Wales, and we as an organisation hope that this ongoing engagement from the Senedd will ensure that DRS remains a priority for the incoming First Minister in 2024.

Jemma Bere
Keep Wales Tidy Policy and Research Manager

How Clean Are Our Streets?

The All Wales Report 2023-24 Summary and Full Report are available here

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