Drinks packaging deposit schemes will not increase reuse or recycling rates, a senior Coca-Cola Enterprises executive has claimed.

Speaking at the Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum 2016 in Brussels last week, CCE's VP of public affairs for Europe, Hans van Bochove, argued that deposit schemes are costly, anti-competitive and a detriment to existing waste management systems. "If you take out valuable PET and metal packaging from these systems," van Bochove said, "it will be much more costly to run packaging sorting schemes."

His view was backed by Peter Sundt, secretary general of the European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery Organisations (EPRO) and Eamonn Bates, Clean Europe Network secretary general. "Deposits are a non-starter for litter," Bates said. "There is no evidence they solve litter and 90% of litter is not subject to a deposit scheme."

Bochove also told the conference that a decline in the drinks refilling market within Europe was another reason why deposit schemes were not viable. "We used to have far more refillable packaging," he said. "Now, we have many deposit systems, but not many refill plants. Coca-Cola has four in the UK and four in France. Only Germany has 23, and this number is not sustainable."

The policy director of UK packaging compliance scheme Valpak, Adrian Hawkes, stressed how Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr ended its bottle re-use system in Scotland last year, as fewer than 50% of bottles were being returned.

Bates, meanwhile, conceded that some deposit schemes - including the return of bottles for recycling - did work well, particularly those in Scandinavia. But, overall, he said that they were a "non-starter" as there was "no evidence" they significantly reduced litter, because "90% of litter is not subject to a deposit scheme."