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The Deposit Return Scheme – Here’s what you need to know

Commercial Waste Services Westminster
Commercial Waste Services Westminster

We are encouraging all business owners in Westminster to become familiar with the UK Government’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), set to be introduced in 2025.

The DRS builds upon the UK’s current efforts to tackle plastic waste and the introduction of this scheme could result in a reduction of up to 85% of containers as litter within three years of its launch. Other initiatives include the Plastic Packaging Tax and Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. Also announced this week was the ban on single-use plastics that will be introduced in the UK from October 2023.

By becoming familiar with the Government’s Deposit Return Scheme, business owners in Westminster can ensure they are compliant with any new regulations or requirements that are introduced in the future.

Read the details of the scheme and schedule here.

What is the Deposit Return Scheme?

When consumers purchase a single-use drink container, they are charged a deposit fee as an incentive to support recycling. This deposit fee is redeemed when the empty container is returned to a return point. Retailers typically accept and process returns either with a reverse vending machine or manually. Then the containers are collected and recycled, allowing for bottle-to-bottle reuse of materials.

Who does it impact?

Through the Deposit Return Scheme, consumers will likely face increased initial costs when buying drinks, but they will be offered a refund when the container is returned.

For producers and retailers, there will be operational and financial costs imposed, such as dealing with the transportation and processing of the returned containers. 

What are the benefits?

A Deposit Return Scheme can bring a range of environmental advantages, including:

  • Higher recycling rates: By providing a financial motivation for people to return containers to be recycled, the rate of recycling usually increases.
  • Reduced littering: By encouraging the return of containers, a DRS helps minimise the amount of waste seen in public places and along roads.
  • Less waste: As the recycling rate increases, fewer containers end up in landfills or in the oceans.
  • Lower greenhouse emissions: The act of recycling materials instead of creating new ones requires less energy and produces fewer greenhouse gases.
  • Conservation of resources: Through recycling, natural resources can be saved by reducing the necessity for fresh materials.

For more information about the benefits of a DRS, specifically why recycling plastic is important, head to our plastic hub page.

What else do you need to know?

For full details about the upcoming Deposit Return Scheme, download this helpful document which details the next steps, the scheme details and targets.

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