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Digital Deposit Return Scheme set up for milk bottle recycling.

Digital Deposit Return Scheme set up for milk bottle recycling. UK-based recycling technology expert Polytag, Sweden-based recycling app Bower and ​ online supermarket Ocado Retail are trialling a recycling reward initiative that incorporates a Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) through a smartphone app – aiming to incentivise recycling without sacrificing consumer convenience. Ocado Retail's customers will be able to scan a QR code on Ocado own-brand two and four-pint plastic milk bottles to receive a reward for putting their packaging in a recycling bin. The first 20,000 codes scanned are set to provide a 20p reward for a consumer’s digital wallet through the Bower app – a figure said to match the deposit mandated in the Deposit Return Scheme legislation scheduled to roll out in 2025. All barcodes scanned afterwards will be offered other perks including cash, coupons and charity donations - via the Bower app. The reward can then be withdrawn into a consumer’s bank account. Printed at Interket UK using standard industry printing processes, the codes can only be scanned once, ensuring that only one deposit can be derived from each pack. Bower’s in-app GPS technology also checks whether a consumer is standing within range of a registered home recycling bin before they can claim the deposit. On-pack QR codes also claim to offer real-time data on the life cycle of a pack, including whether, when, and where it has been recycled. This development intends to streamline operations and facilitate communication with consumers surrounding the companies’ sustainability strategies. Alongside QR technology, product labels are also set to feature invisible tags. Polytag’s invisible tag readers will be used to count the labels at two regional material recycling facilities.​ In April, Polytag announced its collaboration with Co-op to implement QR codes and UV tags into its 2-litre PET spring water bottles for full visibility during the recycling process. It commenced a similar partnership with Aldi last month. ​

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