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    Retailers in dismay over possible DRS delay until 2028

    (Photo: RLG)

    Major retailers have expressed disappointment over the delay to the government’s flagship recycling scheme amid the reports that it is likely to get delayed yet again until 2028, nearly a decade after its initial introduction.

    On Friday (1), i revealed that deposit return scheme has been halted by ministers and delayed until 2028, implying the policy will have been under development for a decade.

    The deposit return scheme (DRS) sees small cash deposits or vouchers being given out in exchange for used cans and bottles and has been under development in the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for seven years with an initial consultation process to look at how it could work launched in 2017.

    The Federation of Independent Retailers national president Muntazir Dipoti responded to reports by saying he had hoped the scheme would be ready “long before” the new 2028 date.

    Dipoti said, “We will be deeply disappointed if the DRS is indeed delayed until 2028. [We have] always believed the scheme has huge potential to boost recycling and curb litter, two issues which impact on everyone’s environment and quality of life.

    “By learning from the flawed scheme in Scotland which caused us concern, we hoped that a UK-wide scheme would be operational long before 2028.”

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reaffirmed the dedication to the scheme, but refused to deny that the scheme had been delayed.

    A spokesperson said, “We are pushing ahead with our programme of reforms to reduce waste and improve our use of resources and remain committed to our goal of eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.

    “It’s essential that we work closely with industry to make sure our reforms will be a success, and we will continue to engage with businesses closely as we proceed with introducing the deposit return scheme.”

    Green economy campaigners are also angered over the possible delay.

    Greenpeace UK’s political campaigner Rudy Schulkind said, “If these rumours of further delay to the scheme are true, they make a mockery of the Government’s claim to be a world leader on plastic action.

    “Our neighbours in Europe have been running DRS schemes successfully for years, they are a popular and incredibly important tool in addressing plastic pollution. Sadly, this Government is all too willing to sacrifice bold action to tackle the climate crisis at the altar of vested interests.”

    City to Sea’s policy manager, Steve Hynd said, “More delays on such an important law leave me with a feeling of sadness, and frustration.

    “Sadness because when a DRS is delivered well it can not only drive up recycling and drive down littering, but it can also lay the foundations for reusable packing in a truly circular economy.

    “But there is also a huge sense of frustration for it is also a sign of sheer foolishness from Government for such important legislation to be so repeatedly delayed. Apart from the obvious environmental impact these delays are having, it is also causing havoc in the private sector.”

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