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One of the UK’s most used materials is plastic. Plastic has been a problematic material for many years as we globally create 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.

However, in 2021, only 44.2% of plastic waste was recycled in the UK. The remaining 55.8% is either improperly disposed of as general waste due to incorrect separation for recycling, composed of plastics types that are not easily recyclable, or ends up polluting our environment as litter.

Plastic bottles and aluminium cans are commonly purchased for ‘on-the-go’ consumption especially in the City of Westminster, which has a high number of tourists. It can be challenging under these circumstances to ensure items are properly separated for recycling.


The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) aims to encourage people to return these ‘on-the-go’ items for recycling, therefore increasing recycling rates.

A DRS is a system where a customer pays a small deposit when purchasing drinks in cans or bottles. This deposit is refunded when the empty containers are returned to designated collection points for recycling.


What are the changes to the DRS that have been recently announced?


The UK government has pushed back the start date from 2025 to 2027. This allows the devolved governments more time to get everything ready and make sure the systems work properly before launching. Delaying the start allows companies, recycling facilities, and people more time to prepare for the new scheme.

By taking extra time upfront, the DRS has a better chance of succeeding in reducing litter and boosting recycling rates for drink containers across the UK.


How will this affect your business? 


Carol Robert, Chief Operating Officer at Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland, stated:

As well as long term benefits such as reduced litter and increased recycling rates, a DRS is also a critical step for businesses, and the UK, to achieve net zero.


Once the DRS is implemented, we anticipate changes in the way beverage containers are collected and processed. As a leading waste management company, our team of experts are closely monitoring the developments and working to ensure a seamless transition for our valued customers. We remain committed to providing innovative solutions that support your sustainability goals.

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