The Digital DRS Industry Working Group, a grouping of nine trade bodies, including the BRC, and companies across the drinks containers value chain, have released a new report on the potential for a ‘digital’ deposit return scheme (DRS). 

The high level economic impact assessment was commissioned by consultancy Resource Futures and suggests that a DDRS could achieve policy objective at lower cost. 

The results indicate that the total cost of an All-In DDRS is lower than the comparable All-In RVM-DRS system, the present value of the All-In DDRS costs is estimated to be £3,002m over the 11 year period compared to £6,346m for All-In RVM-DRS. The net present value (NPV) and benefit to cost ratio (BCR) are higher for an All-In DDRS.

Costs associated with RVMs and manual take-back points are reduced in a DDRS as it uses a smaller network of these return points and cheaper RVM units. The greatest impact is a large reduction in the capital investment in RVMs when compared to an All-In RVM-DRS. The DDRS introduces new costs to support the digital function of the system. The largest of these lies in IT operational costs, and relates to the transaction fee associated with scanning the serialisation mark on the container and redeeming the deposit and a smaller cost for maintaining supporting IT infrastructure.