Donating to good causes the proceeds from a UK-wide deposit scheme on drink cans and bottles could raise more than £1bn a year for voluntary sector organisations, according to new research.
A representative survey of more than 2,100 adults, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and conducted in March, found that 20 per cent of respondents said they would donate the deposits they had paid on drink cans and bottles to charity all of the time.
The CPRE estimated that this would raise more than £1bn a year for good causes if it was introduced.
A further 53 per cent of survey respondents said they would donate their deposits some or most of the time, which the CPRE said could raise a further £1.3bn a year for charitable causes.
The Scottish government has promised to introduce a 20p deposit-return system for glass, plastic and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes from next year.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this month closed a consultation on a similar measure for the remainder of the UK, which could be in place by 2023.
It is not clear whether any of the proceeds will go to good causes, but the CPRE said the proceeds from similar schemes in other countries did go to charitable organisations.
The government also expects that amounts raised through charges on single-use carrier bags will go to charitable causes.
The CPRE said an estimated 28 billion single-use glass, plastic and aluminium drink bottles and cans are sold every year in the UK, but recycling rates have stalled at about 45 per cent.
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the CPRE, said: "Not only would the introduction of a UK-wide deposit-return system put a stop to most of the environmental damage caused by drinks containers and boost recycling rates to more than 90 per cent, it could also provide much-needed funding for good causes across the country.
"It is fantastic and really heartening that so many people would be happy to donate their deposits in this way."