ACE UK PRESS RELEASE: DDRS Alliance launches GB’s first carton DDRS trial, using new technologies and approaches to make recycling easier and more rewarding
The DDRS Alliance, with the support of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK, Welsh Government, WRAP Cymru, Powys County Council, a range of local retailers, and ACE UK member Tetra Pak, has launched the UK’s first digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) for drink cartons.
Based in Brecon, South Wales, the Scan|Recycle|Reward scheme will be the UK’s first whole town DDRS trial. Designed to test how new technologies can be used to incentivise collection and return of recyclable packaging, up to 4,300 local households and all visitors to the town will be able to claim 10p per-item recycled through a dedicated smartphone app.
Single carton packs, glass bottles and cans, marked with unique QR code stickers by participating retailers, including Morrisons, Aldi, the Co-op, Greggs, Boots, and Costa, will be scannable and returnable through the system.
The around 8,250 local Brecon residents and all visitors to the town will then have the option to claim back their 10p deposits on each piece of eligible packaging through the Scan|Recycle|Reward app, or donate their deposits to either the Brecon Food Bank or Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
Scanned packaging can then be recycled in one of three ways:
- Kerbside – Integrating seamlessly with kerbside waste and recycling collections, scanned cartons, bottles and cans can be placed in normal household recycling, for regular collection.
- Community smart bins – Brecon residents will also be able to recycle items at two community smart bins across the town, enabling them to scan, recycle and receive rewards on-the-go.
- Over the counter – Mirroring traditional DRS, local households will also be able to return cartons and other recyclable materials directly to retailers without the use of the smartphone app, ensuring that all Brecon residents can participate.
The 12-week Brecon DDRS trial will run from Thursday 13 July until Wednesday 4 October, giving local Brecon residents time to get to grips with the system.
Chief Executive of ACE UK, Richard Hands said: “Digital DRS uses smartphone technologies to strengthen consumer recycling incentives to recycle. DDRS deliver the best of both worlds – by integrating seamlessly with existing kerbside collection systems, there is a reduced requirement for expensive and bulky reverse vending machines or other collection infrastructure.
“We are delighted that drink cartons are at the forefront of this innovative approach. With both the Scottish and English DRS delayed, there is an opportunity to consider how these schemes could be improved through the use of digital technologies – delivering higher recycling rates for a wider range of packaging materials, at reduced cost and disruption.”
Insights from the results of the Brecon Scan|Recycle|Reward trial will be used to assess the effectiveness of DDRS, enabling meaningful comparisons with more traditional DRS approaches.
Food and drink cartons are fully recyclable. ACE UK is committed to achieving a 90% collection and 70% recycling rate for cartons by 2030. As the first DDRS trial in the UK to include cartons, the Brecon Scan|Recycle|Reward trial is a key step towards achieving ACE UK’s objectives, exploring innovative methods of supporting and encouraging consumer recycling.
With both the Scottish, and English, Welsh and Northern Irish deposit return schemes now scheduled to begin in October 2025 at the earliest, there is an opportunity to review and update their approaches to ensure that they are taking advantage of the latest digital technologies.
The Alliance will share data from the Brecon trial with both the Scotland Environment and Forestry Directorate and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to inform their scheme designs, supporting the UK’s transition towards a more sustainable circular economy.
The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK represents Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, the leading manufacturers of food and drink cartons for the UK and European markets. ACE UK’s objective is to promote food and drink cartons as a renewable, fully recyclable and low carbon packaging choice and delivers environmental initiatives in the UK on behalf of our members.
Follow us on Twitter: @CartonRecycling
Media and further inquiries: Ross Melton, Tel: 0044 7493867457 / 0044 2074572807; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.