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    Deposit return scheme delayed until October 2027

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    Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in the UK has been pushed back to October 2027, subject to agreement from the devolved administrations, the government confirmed today (25). 

    In a written ministerial statement published this morning (25), Robbie Moore MP confirmed that the previously scheduled October 2025 go live date for a deposit return scheme was a ‘stretching target’ and that an October 2027 implementation would be required to ensure that the rollout of schemes was effective and efficient. 

    The statement also confirms that the UK government has no intention to include glass within its deposit return scheme, with only the Welsh Government currently committed to a scheme that includes glass. The statement refers to figures from Keep Britain Tidy which show that just 4 per cent of litter was comprised of glass drinks containers in 2020. 

    Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed confirmation of the delay.

    ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “We welcome this clarification from the Government on the introduction of DRS. It’s essential that the scheme is given every opportunity to succeed, which involves as much alignment as possible between UK nations, the strategic mapping of sustainable return points, and the creation of the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We will continue to work with our members on how they can engage with the scheme.”

    In correspondence with the Welsh Government, ACS has previously outlines what it believes to be the five guiding principles for a well-designed deposit return scheme. These are: 

    •    The scheme should be consistent across the UK
    •    The scheme must be at worst cost neutral for retailers
    •    Glass should not be included in the scheme
    •    Return points should be strategically mapped and not mandated on the basis of business type/size
    •    The scheme should prioritise colleague and customer safety

    Mr Lowman continued: “Given the new timescales for the introduction of the scheme, we now have more capacity to get the details right. We urge the Welsh Government to align its scheme with the rest of the UK and exclude glass.”

    The full Written Ministerial Statement is available here. ACS has produced comprehensive guidance for retailers on the operation of a Deposit Return Scheme in stores in Scotland (which was originally scheduled to be the first nation to introduce a scheme), which is available here. 

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