Pilots | Conwy Pilot

Polytag teamAug 21, 20217 min read

Ambition Zero Waste

In 2021, Polytag, along with the Welsh Government, Conwy Council & WRAP Cymru, delivered the UK’s first DDRS pilot.

Choosing a digital deposit return scheme

Working with households in Conwy, North Wales, the pilot sought to assess the viability of digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) technologies being incorporated into existing council waste collection services.

The Welsh Government-led Conwy DDRS Pilot ran from the 7th June – 15th July 2021. WRAP and its research partner, DJS, recruited households within the Colwyn Heights neighbourhood to take part in the pilot.

Wales looking to a greener future with a digital deposit return scheme

In the UK, the regulation of waste and resources is largely managed at a devolved level. Over the last two decades, Wales has become the leader in the UK when it comes to recycling.

Building on its reputation for recycling success, in 2019 the Welsh Government published its Towards Zero Waste strategy in which it outlined an ambition to become a zero waste country by 2050 and the world leader in recycling.

Wales is making good progress. In 2020 the country confirmed a record high recycling rate of 65.14% for 2019/20, exceeding its 64% statutory target. Globally, it currently ranks third for recycling.

However, the Welsh Government also recognises that it needs to do more. Currently, some of Wales’s recycling waste is exported, while packaging waste material remains a significant part of the residual waste stream and one of the major sources of litter.

The Digital DRS results

Led by Howard Davies, Plastic Policy Manager for the Welsh Government, the Conwy Digital Deposit Return Scheme pilot set out to test the viability of Polytag’s DDRS describe, tag and trace technology, on the basis that it could have the potential to transform how households across Wales engage with their packaging waste. Working with a number of partners, the pilot illustrated the impact that collaborative working groups can have when a shared vision is created.

  1. Recruited households 325 households received a welcome pack, which included 6 bottles of Princes Gate mineral water.

  2. Household Registration 271 recruited households scanned a participant code with an app, in order to register to take part in the pilot.

  3. Engagement rate 263 registered households scanned at least one bottle during the pilot, this is a 97% engagement rate.

  4. Participation 90% of registered households scanned at least four out of six bottles.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change “This has been a really encouraging pilot project that we will learn from as we work towards rooting out waste and reusing as much as we can as part of our efforts to tackle climate change. Digital Deposit Return Schemes, like this one deployed in Colwyn Heights, help Local Authorities, brands and regulators to monitor recycling rates, so they can better understand the habits of households. By using these new technologies we are one step closer to creating a truly circular economy.”