Tizer. Dandelion & Burdock. Cream soda. In the craze for retro products, these fizzy treats are due a comeback. And so, says Bill Bryson, are the 'money back' bottles they once came in.

Bryson, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, believes the return of the bottle deposit schemes which were scrapped in the mid-1980s would encourage recycling, keep litter down and supplement the pocket money of youngsters up and down the land. It would also save the public sector £160m in collection costs, he adds.

Quite a feat, I'm sure you would agree. But the eccentric Anglophile best known for authoring Notes from a Small Island and A Short History of Everything is already a bit of a miracle worker, having united the BRC and the ACS in condemnation of the CPRE's proposals.

One can understand why the BRC is so opposed to the proposals: supermarkets have invested huge sums in their car park schemes, and the old money-back solution could undermine such investments. It could even see youngsters hanging around the recycling centres looking to supplement their pocket money still further.

The objections of the ACS are much harder to fathom: though more costly and labour intensive, the money-back solution could encourage punters to visit local stores to exchange the bottles, levelling the playing field a little.

What concerns me most, however, is the fact that the trade bodies, and other federations, did not use this opportunity to flag up actions that could really make a difference.

Instead of rushing out press releases defending the status quo while David Cameron was promising to investigate Bryson's idea here was a gilt-edged opportunity to point out the regrettable inconsistencies in local authority recycling schemes. They let it slip.