UK-wide DRS scheme delayed until 2027

The introduction of a deposit return scheme to the whole of the UK has been delayed until 2027, the government announced.

The scheme was first announced by then environment secretary Michael Gove in 2018, and will now be launched nearly a decade later.

The deposit return scheme will include cans and plastic bottles, but controversially not include glass.

Its anticipated launch date of 2024 had already been pushed back to 2025 and now will not go live until October 2027.

Current environment minister Robbie Gibb said: “Following extensive engagement with industry, who will be responsible for delivering the DRS, and a review of international approaches to DRS implementation, additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK.

“With the agreement of ministerial colleagues across the devolved administrations, the DRS will go live in October 2027.”

Anti-litter charity Keep Britain Tidy expressed their dismay at the continued delay to the scheme.

The charity’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “This is our chance to tackle the drinks litter that makes up more than 70% of litter by volume in this country at the same time as dramatically improving recycling, and all without leaving the taxpayer out of pocket.

“Their decision to postpone introduction to October 2027 is nothing short of disastrous for the environment and a slap in the face for anyone who cares about the state of litter in this country.

“This delay means oceans of bottles and cans will continue to needlessly pile up in bins and continue to be strewn on roadsides and in our green spaces, rather than being recycled.

“We estimate that between now and October 2027, an eye watering 25 billion bottles and cans will be littered, buried or burned.

“So Keep Britain Tidy is urgently calling on any future government to make this the number one priority in the war against our spiralling waste crisis,” she said.

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