The Government recently issued the response to its consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here are a few of the things you need to know:
- The full roll out of the scheme will take place in 2025 with the appointment of a deposit management organisation (DMO) to be made by the summer of 2024.
- The size of containers in scope for DRS will be 50 millilitres to 3 litres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Materials in scope of DRS across all three nations are polyethylene, terephthalate (PET) bottles; steel and aluminium cans.
- Glass will be in scope for Wales but will not be included in the scheme in England and Northern Ireland.
- Scotland’s has its own Deposit Return Scheme which is set to go live on 16 August 2023.
- Consumers will pay an additional 20p when they purchase a drink in a bottle or can – this will be refunded when they return the container to a collection point.
Feedback on the Government’s response has been mixed with many citing the issue of inconsistency across all four nations. This is at a time when there are other plans (including a specific consultation) to do quite the opposite and improve consistency in the way we collect and manage our resources.
Some organisations, including the CIWM (Chartered Institution for Wastes Management), also raised concerns over the proposed method of paying local authorities for the DRS material that they end up managing. The overwhelming response during the consultation was that redeeming deposits was not workable, so many local authorities might be disappointed with this proposal. There is also the need to resolve the issue of VAT so everyone has a clear view on the finances involved in the scheme.
As the go-live date for DRS draws closer in Scotland several smaller drinks manufacturers and distributers are voicing concerns and saying that they will be unable to continue to supply the Scottish market. Many are calling for glass bottles to be made exempt, as they are in England and Northern Ireland, which would give them the opportunity to change their packaging.
Click here to read the Government’s full response.
For more information on the DRS scheme in Scotland click here.