DRS delay confirmed in the UK

June 7th, 2024

The United Kingdom’s bottle deposit and return scheme (DRS) will be delayed until 2027, thus entering into force four years later than initially planned. The four UK governments have worked together over the past couple of years to agree on a joint approach.

The United Kingdom’s bottle deposit and return scheme (DRS) will be delayed until 2027, thus entering into force four years later than initially planned. The four UK governments have worked together over the past couple of years to agree on a joint approach.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced the delay in a joint policy statement with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, and the Scottish and Welsh governments.

One reason for the delay was the potential inclusion of glass containers, which the Scottish and Welsh governments favoured.

However, due to opposition, the DRS will initially only include drinks containers made from PET, steel and aluminium. The position of glass containers will be determined in separate statements issued by each administration.

The new timeline for the DRS introduction is as follows:

  • Phase 1: Regulation and appointment of deposit management organisations (DMOs) – by Spring 2025
  • Phase 2: DMO set-up – from Spring 2025 to Spring 2026
  • Phase 3: Roll out – from Spring 2026 to Autumn 2027
  • Phase 4: DRS launch – October 2027

The size of containers in scope will be between 150 ml and 3 litres across the UK. All containers outside this range will fall within the scope of the EPR scheme for packaging.

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