What is a deposit return scheme (DRS)?
A DRS is where a consumer pays an up-front deposit on an item at point of purchase, this is redeemed on the return of the item to a designated return point. The provision of a financial incentive aims to change consumer behaviour encouraging higher recycling rates, increasing the quality of recycling materials, and significantly reduce litter. Deposit return schemes are already successfully established in many countries.
Deposit Return Schemes in the UK
There are two Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) to be implemented in the UK specifically for beverage containers:
- DRS (Scotland)
The scheme is intended to go live in July 2022*
The DRS will require consumers to pay a 20p returnable deposit when they buy a glass bottle, can or PET plastic container
Circularity Scotland Limited is the new administrator for the scheme
There is extensive information on the DRS (Scotland) available on the Zero Waste Scotland website.
*A Review into the impact of COVID-19 on the go-live date for Scotland's DR Scheme was announced in March 2021 therefore, the start date may be subject to change depending upon this review.
- DRS (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
A second consultation on this closed June 4th, 2021, summary of responses would be expected later in 2021 and it is intended to be operational from late 2024.
Consultation on Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
This consultation covered all aspects of how a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may be implemented including:
- What products are included,
- Who is obligated and outlines what their obligations will be,
- Deposit rates to be added to products,
- Mandatory labelling to be introduced to in-scope products.
Contact Greenstreets to help you navigate the changes and provide further guidance.
For further details please consult Introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland Consultation.