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DRS poll: 7 in 10 Dutch shoppers to shop elsewhere if their  supermarket refuses returned drinks cans 

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  • 89 percent want convenience stores to accept returned cans as part of DRS scheme 
  • Norstat Poll: almost 7 in 10 would switch supermarket in favour of store which accepts all drinks packaging in DRS 
  • Cans set to be included in DRS from 2023 – Current Afvalfonds plan for can DRS  proposes inconvenient can return points outside of supermarkets
  • Environmental campaigners call for supermarkets to collect returned cans 
  • Poll – 70 percent could switch from cans to other materials like PET bottles      

ALMOST seven in ten Dutch people are willing to shop at a different store if their favourite supermarket  fails to accept returned drinks cans, a major poll reveals today. 

The poll of more than 1,000 Dutch residents, carried out by Norstat, found some 68 percent would  switch to a retailer that did accept returned cans as part of the deposit return scheme.  

There will be a deposit on drinks cans with effect from 31 December 2022.

Retailers already accept large and small plastic bottles as well as reusable glass beer bottles as part of the deposit return scheme.  

But plans unveiled last year by the Afvalfonds suggest that cans would only be collected at inconvenient collection  points some hundreds of meters away from shops.  

The Norstat poll builds on a survey conducted earlier this year by Consumentenbond which found 89  percent want to be able to return their plastic bottles and cans at the same location, which is at all points of sale.

However, with supermarkets persistently refusing to accept cans within the scheme, producer  responsibility organisation Afvalfonds is proposing to establish collection points some hundred meters away from retail  premises. 

But anti-waste campaigners warned that the inconvenience of separate collection points could undermine the actual enthusiastic public support for the whole deposit return system and with that weaken the desired effect on litter.  

Afvalfonds’ proposal would see only 3,000 collection points available for consumers to dispose of their  empty cans, which is drastically lower than the 5,500 offered inside supermarkets for PET bottles.  

The polling found some 70 percent of respondents would also avoid buying their favourite drink in a  can if the supermarket refused to take them back. Approximately two billion cans are sold in the Netherlands each year.

However, if shoppers choose to  avoid cans they are more likely to switch to PET bottles. 

Around 900 million small plastic bottles, and 600 million large plastic bottles are already sold in the  Netherlands each year. 

There are 11 other countries with DRS systems in the European Union, operating successfully for decades, and all of which allow consumers the convenience of being able to return their bottles and  cans to supermarkets. 

25 to 34-year-olds are most likely to change supermarkets, with 75 percent of respondents saying they  would likely choose a different store.  

Eight in ten residents living in Overijssel are likely to switch to a different supermarket should their  preferred store not accept all materials, while three quarters of Noord-Holland residents and 70  percent of Limburg residents would also shop elsewhere. 

With the Government looking to incentivise recycling rates and combat pollution, the  overwhelming public support for supermarkets to include cans in their DRS schemes in their shops cannot be ignored, campaigners said. 

A Plastic Soup Foundation Spokesperson said: “The results of this poll are clear. The public want to be able to return their drinks containers to a single point. Anything other than this runs the risk of diminishing  return rates, or worse yet, forcing people to buy highly polluting items such as plastic bottles or cartons. 

“Simply put, if we’re to meet the plastic waste crisis head on there can be no half measures. The Government must make its DRS as comprehensive as possible and ensure supermarkets will accept the return of cans.”

A Recycling Netwerk Benelux spokesperson said: “The Dutch fully support the deposits both on plastic bottles and cans. But, apart from supermarkets Ekoplaza and Marqt, the big supermarkets refuse to take the cans in through their shops. 

“The alternative proposal by Afvalfonds is not consumer-friendly at all and thus undermines the workings of DRS and its potential environmental benefits. The outcome of this poll gives the supermarkets an additional reason to drop their resistance and to take back cans inside their shops along the plastic bottles starting from 31 December”. 

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