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The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has welcomed the announcement of details from the UK government regarding deposit return schemes (DRS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Following consultation, the government has set a target of October 2025 for introducing DRS. Separate schemes for Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are due to start on August 16 this year and February 1, 2024, respectively.

Through DRS, consumers will pay an additional 20p when they purchase a drink in a single-use container. This is redeemed when they take the container back to a return point operator.

The UK government has announced that its schemes will take back the following:

  • England and Northern Ireland – PET, steel and aluminium cans.
  • Wales – PET, steel and aluminium cans, as well as glass bottles.
  • All 50ml to 3-litre containers will be included in the England, Wales, and Northern Ireland schemes.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which has announced the scheme, has set a collection target of 90 per cent within the first three years of the scheme going live.

Further details on the handling fee and regulations are set to be announced by the summer of 2024 and DEFRA will appoint a Deposit Management Organisation to oversee the rollout of the scheme.

The Fed hopes to work closely with the management organisation to ensure the voice of the independent retailer is heard.

The Fed’s National President Jason Birks said: “We are happy to see the outcome of the consultation has favoured DRS.

“As a federation that has always been supportive of DRS, we are looking forward to engaging with the scheme operators to ensure a successful outcome for our members, many of whose stores will be actively involved.

“It is important that independent retailers are included in discussions, as they are vital return point operators. The Fed will continue to monitor DRS as it progresses and will update its members accordingly.”

For more information, please contact Anne Bingham, Head of Communications, on 07879 646842 or email

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