UK deposit return scheme for drinks containers deferred until 2027

UK deposit return scheme for drinks containers deferred until 2027

Sustainability

The UK government has announced a delay in the implementation of the bottle deposit and return scheme (DRS) until 2027, pushing the timeline back by four years from its original plan.

The delay is attributed to disagreements between the UK and Welsh governments over the inclusion of glass in the scheme. While the Welsh government seeks to incorporate glass into the DRS, the UK government opposes this approach.

This postponement has been met with disappointment by various organisations, although it was not entirely unexpected.

The DRS was intended to incentivise consumers to recycle bottles by offering monetary rewards or vouchers.

Efforts to establish a unified approach to the scheme across all four UK nations have been ongoing, with public consultations conducted in 2019 and 2021. Initially, both the Scottish and Welsh governments advocated for the inclusion of glass alongside plastic and metal in the scheme. However, disagreements arose over the complexity and cost associated with incorporating glass into the scheme.

Automatic bottle deposit refund machine © Tim Fuller (CC BY 2.0)
Minister Robbie Moore said: Additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK. The DRS will go live in October 2027. Including glass in any UK DRS will create undue complexity for the drinks industry.

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