Delay to the implementation of DRS in the UK

Hands placing bottles in recycling bin Print publication


A deposit return scheme (DRS) will not be in place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until late 2024 at the earliest – six years after it was announced by Government as a key environmental policy. Instead a second consultation was announced in March 2021 “to explore further what the continued appetite is for a deposit return scheme in a ‘post-Covid’ context“.

A DRS was first announced in 2018 by the then Environment Secretary to cut the litter polluting the land and sea by returning a small cash sum to consumers who return their bottles and cans. It came after years of campaigning by environmental groups. Government’s manifesto promise in 2019 was to introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass and the first consultation was met with a high level of support for the scheme. But after years of discussions the new consultation document published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, showed that Government was no closer to deciding on what kind of deposit scheme should be in place.

WM comment

The second consultation ended on 4 June 2021 and we will keep you updated with any decisions which are made.