Four in 10 businesses think DRS will negatively impact them

New research has revealed that four in ten businesses believe a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will negatively impact them.

The research was commissioned by GS1 UK to gauge consumer and business awareness and attitudes ahead of the upcoming implementation of DRS in countries across the UK.

Deposit return schemes are designed to encourage recycling by charging consumers a deposit on drinks containers which is refunded when items are returned to a collection point.

All four UK nations have announced that they will introduce DRS by 2025, with the Scottish scheme set to launch next year.

GS1 UK’s research amongst business owners revealed a lack of awareness with 38% that were not aware of the proposed scheme at all.

Despite the research showing that 69% of businesses believe the introduction of DRS will be a positive step for their industry, four in 10 think that a deposit return scheme will have a negative impact on their own businesses.

Consumers could be in for a double price hike on items included in the schemes. A third (33 %) of businesses surveyed said they will raise the RRP of products to account for added operational costs and complexities.

The research also revealed that 16% of Brits don’t recycle, with a lack of knowledge about what can and can’t be recycled cited as the most common reason.

A new poll of 2,000 adults found that a third (34%) believe recycling is unnecessarily complicated, whilst 45% think that simplicity would be the most important aspect if the recycling system were to be redesigned.

In fact, recent figures from DEFRA show that the amount of household waste recycled in England fell by 1.5% in 2020 to 44%, 6% below the EU minimum target of 50%.

Despite the schemes’ impact on consumers’ wallets, the study found that only 42% had heard of them and understood how they worked, whilst a quarter (26%) had no idea what they were at all.

When how a potential scheme could work was explained, 60% of consumers surveyed said being able to reclaim a deposit would make them more likely to buy products included in the schemes, and 57% would do a lot more recycling if it meant they wouldn’t be left out of pocket.

The final rules and regulations are still to be decided with the four UK nations planning on taking different approaches with different timelines. GS1 UK, as a result, is calling for a future-proofed approach that delivers simplicity, convenience and ease of use for both consumers and industry.

Anne Godfrey, CEO of GS1 UK said: “The introduction of deposit return schemes will fundamentally change the way we recycle for the better. It will however add costs and complexity not just for consumers, but industry, waste collectors and local authorities

“A successful scheme relies on consumer participation. Our data demonstrates that simplicity is key and therefore needs to be at the heart of any successful scheme.”

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