Residents trade in used cans and bottles for cash

someone depositing their can using a smartphone
New technology meant people could claim rewards from their own home [Welsh government]

People in a rural town have collectively earned almost £2,000 by returning their used bottles and cans as part of a pilot scheme.

Households in Brecon, Powys, which has about 8,200 residents, took part in the 16-week trial of a digital deposit return scheme (DDRS).

It trialled technology that digitally scans the packaging, meaning deposits could be reclaimed from people’s homes, with participants earning 10p per eligible drinks container.

Results show 18,794 rewards were claimed, more than four for every household.

A range of return options were on offer, including kerbside collection, automated return points, community bins and over the counter.

All were used, with 58% of all returned containers coming via household weekly recycling collections.

The scheme was led by the DDRS Alliance with support from Welsh government, Powys council, WRAP’s collaborative change programme and retailers.

DDRS Alliance said the trial involved 24 retailers and more than 50 suppliers and partners.

But some retailers are worried about costly infrastructure, councils have concerns about lost income from kerbside collections and there have been rows between the UK and devolved governments over whether to include glass.

Deposit point
There were four different ways people could return their used drinks containers for collection [BBC]

Huw Irranca-Davies, cabinet secretary for climate change, said the aim was to move to a circular economy where resources were reused or recycled.

Matt Perry, Powys council’s chief officer, said Brecon's residents and visitors embraced the initiative with "enthusiasm and willingness to give the digital technology a go".