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    Deposit Return Scheme poised for further delay

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    Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is set to be delayed by at least another year, state recent reports, saying the already delayed October 2025 start date is deemed unachievable.

    The government has been reportedly told in a recently held meeting that the October 2025 start date for the rollout of the UK’s deposit return scheme is a “non-starter”.

    The reports comes a day after retailer body Association of Convenience Stores appealed for the government to reconsider the timeframe, with its response to the committee inquiry on waste, resources and recycling reforms highlighting the need for proper lead times and planning to allow the infrastructure for DRS to be put into place.

    The Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry is set to question Defra officials on whether the government has effective plans to meet its waste and recycling ambitions. The ACS has welcomed the delays announced so far, but said any future scheme would also need further concessions including draft regulations laid before parliament with significant lead time to the proposed go-live date, a commitment from government to underwrite finances for setting up a deposit management organisation and a timeline that properly reflected the time needed for industry to prepare.

    “We cannot risk rushing out half-baked policies that could end up harming retailers, consumers, the industry and ultimately the environment,” said ACS CEO James Lowman.

    Meanwhile, it emerged last couple of weeks that the Government’s flagship bottle recycling scheme will cost companies ten times the amount that officials previously claimed.

    According to calculations by the British Retail Consortium and reported by The Telegraph, the planned deposit system for the purchase of drinks bottles and cans will cost retailers at least £1.8 billion a year in contrast to £171m estimated by the government in 2019. Much of the cost is likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, prompting calls for the scheme to be delayed or even scrapped.

    The BRC said its analysis highlighted the need for a delay to “rethink” current plans in order to “prevent the introduction of an unnecessarily complex and costly scheme.”

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