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Government said it would consult again on the regulatory framework of the proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England and Wales before introducing it in 2023.

In its response today (23 July) to the consultation held earlier this year on the topic, the government said it would like to receive additional evidence and carry out further analysis on the costs and benefits of the scheme.

The Defra response indicated that the drinks containers up to 3L in volume could be included in the DRS. However, the upper limit will be subject to the outcome of additional evidence and further stakeholder engagement, it said.

The details including the material and drinks to be included in scope will also be part of the second consultation in 2020, it added.

There was overwhelming support to the proposals in the consultation to include polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and High-Density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bottles, steel and aluminium cans and glass bottles in the DRS scheme.

The large majority of respondents also supported the inclusion of drink types proposed in the consultation in the scheme, namely soft drinks (including water and juices), alcoholic drinks, drinks containing milk and plant-based drinks, milk and plant based drinks.

Between the two models for the DRS presented in the consultation, the ‘all-in’ option got the support of 59 percent and the ‘on-the-go’ model, of 13 percent. The latter model suggested to include containers smaller than 750mls and drinks sold in single format containers.

Defra said many local authorities have asked to defer the implementation of DRS until stakeholders better understand the long-term impacts of the extended producer responsibility scheme.

Several respondents also pointed out that local authority led kerbside schemes are already recycling much of the material covered within the scope of DRS, it said.

Defra also noted that it would like to carry out further analysis regarding the potential interface between a DRS and the current collections regime in Wales to ensure regulatory consistency across the UK.

The department launched the consultation in conjunction with the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government has already brought forward proposals for a wide-ranging DRS.