Government announces deposit return scheme

Date : 25 January 2023

The Government has announced it will launch a Deposit Return Scheme in October 2025 at the earliest, with the aim of increasing recycling rates of drinks containers to 90% within three years of the scheme commencing.

The Government, alongside the devolved administrations from Wales and Northern Ireland, have responded to the consultation on the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and confirmed that an industry-led DRS will be launched in October 2025 at the earliest. The scheme in Scotland will commence in August of this year.

The DRS will see small cash deposits placed on single-use drinks containers. Shoppers are then incentivised to recycle the containers at reverse vending machines where they can receive their cash deposit back.

Retailers, who sell the drinks containers covered by the scheme will be obligated to host return points and include the price of the deposit into their pricing, making this clear on any pricing information.

The DRS will cover Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and steel/aluminium cans in England and Northern Ireland. In Wales, it will additionally cover glass bottles, this is the same as the Scottish scheme. The government has confirmed that it will work alongside the Devolved Administrations to support the interoperability of the different schemes.

The government will appoint an independent Deposit Management Organisation to run the scheme. This organisation will mandate the use of a DRS labelling to identify the product as part of the DRS.

There will be a period of further industry engagement to explore areas such as determining a way online retailers can operate a takeback service and the impact of DRS on small businesses.

The DRS is part of a wider governmental programme to manage packaging waste, including Extended Producer Responsibility and the ban on single-use plastics coming into force in October 2025.

IGD is working alongside industry to reduce the environmental impacts of packaging systems by 2030. To learn more about the program, please see here.


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