A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is a system where consumers pay an up-front deposit on an item (such as a sealed drink), at a point of purchase, which is redeemed on return of the empty drinks container.
In other words, you’re buying the contents, but renting the container, obtaining your deposit back on its return. This means that high-quality plastic material is kept ‘in the loop’ and is much easier to recycle into different products, reducing the number of new bottles or drinks containers needing to be made from virgin material.
DRS systems are a proven way to capture material through a circular system and dramatically increase recycling and reuse. Recycling rates of over 90% are common in well-designed and all-in Deposit Return Schemes.
The UK Environment Act became law in 2021, and it acts as the UK’s new framework for environmental protection, including powers to implement a Deposit Return Scheme.
Despite this, it has taken the UK government 7 years to get to this point and in June this year, they delayed the UKs deposit return scheme for a third time! This means they will have taken over 9 years to implement the promised scheme.