Call for evidence on voluntary and economic incentives to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling

Closed 20 Nov 2017

Opened 2 Oct 2017


As part of the Government’s commitment to deliver its Litter Strategy for England[1], Defra has established the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group. This independent group is tasked with examining specific voluntary and/or regulatory interventions that can reduce the incidence of commonly littered items and improve recycling and reuse of packaging.

The group will undertake a series of investigations into different types of products and/or packaging that are commonly littered, many of which have an inherent value in terms of their materials. This is in the wider context of improving local environmental quality and potentially increasing recycling.

As its first piece of work, Ministers have asked the Working Group to look at regulatory or voluntary measures to reduce littering and/or improve the recycling of drinks containers. 

The Working Group has specifically been asked to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different types of well-designed and well run deposit and reward and return schemes for drinks containers. 



Why your views matter

This survey is open to all who have an interest in the topic.

The call for evidence is a series of questions which will help the Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group scope out the opportunities, enablers, challenges and barriers to regulatory or voluntary measures to improving the recycling of and/or reducing littering of drinks containers. It will help draw together information on the costs, impacts and benefits of these measures.

The evidence and data you supply will provide the Working Group with valuable evidence to provide advice to Ministers on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of well-designed and well run schemes for drinks containers.

If any commercially sensitive information is submitted in response to the call for evidence, Defra will remove details which could identify those who wrote it before we share it with the Working Group.

What happens next

Responses will provide vital supporting evidence to help the Voluntary and Economics Incentives Working Group provide advice to Ministers on potential incentives for drinks containers early in 2018.  

It is important to note that this work is part of the wider work to deliver the Litter Strategy for England, as well as wider waste and resources policy development, and will have to be assessed on this basis, as well as in relation to each other. The work will also need to be assessed in the context of changing circumstances, such as EU Exit.


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Government Departments
  • Coastal local authorities
  • Recreation sector
  • Coastal Management sector
  • Environmental professional services
  • Households
  • Local Authorities
  • Non-Household Customers
  • Consumer Groups
  • Waste Producers and Handlers
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Local Authorities
  • Producer Compliance Schemes
  • Waste Management Companies
  • Walkers
  • Families
  • Students
  • Fishermen
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Trading Standards Officers
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Beach Users


  • Natural environment
  • Ecosystems services
  • Green economy
  • Sustainable development
  • Waste and recycling
  • Bathing waters
  • Local environments
  • Inland waterways