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The UK Government has announced the outcome of the consultation on introducing the deposit return scheme in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in October 2025.

Through Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), consumers will pay an additional 20p when they purchase a drink in a single-use container. This is redeemed when they return the container to a return point operator. DRS is beginning in Scotland on August 16th, 2023, and is scheduled to begin in the Republic of Ireland on February 1st 2024.

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; and glass bottles

All 50ml – 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% within the first three years of the scheme going live.

Retailers will be obligated to host a return point if they sell single-use containers, but an exemption process will be available. Further details on the handling fee and regulations are set to be appointed by the summer of 2024. DEFRA will be announcing a Deposit Management Organisation that will 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 President Jason Birks stated “we are happy to see the outcome of the consultation has favoured DRS. As a federation that has always been supportive of the scheme, we are looking forward to engaging with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to support the roll-out of DRS. It is important that independent retailers are included in discussions as they are vital return point operators. The Fed supports the drive towards a green economy and looks forward to the success of DRS beginning in Scotland this year”.

The Fed will continue to monitor DRS as it progresses and will update its members accordingly.

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