Consultation: Introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Consultation close: 11:45pm on 4 June 2021

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is carrying out a second consultation on proposals for a deposit return scheme (DRS) on drinks containers.

 The aim of a DRS would be to help change behaviour and encourage recycling / reduce littering.

DEFRA is seeking views on:

  • how a deposit return scheme will operate
  • scheme scope and design
  • implementation timelines
  • scheme enforcement

In 2019, Defra launched the consultation on Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, in conjunction with the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. The proposals met with high levels of support and the Government committed to continuing to develop proposals and stated that it was minded to implement a scheme from 2023.

However, due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic the Government is revisiting the idea. The consultation notice states ‘Government remains committed to delivering on its commitments to introduce a deposit return scheme, but it also recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the economy and society in unimaginable ways, with many people  reassessing their values, decisions and priorities in both the immediate and longer term. On this basis, our second consultation will build on the first consultation, offering a chance to explore further what the continued appetite is for a deposit return scheme in a ‘post-Covid’ context. The second consultation will also inform how a future scheme can be designed in the best and most coherent way possible to deliver on the objectives set out for introducing such a policy. With this in mind, we have had to reassess what a realistic timeline for implementation of a deposit return scheme looks like, ensuring that sufficient time is given for a successful roll-out of the scheme. We therefore anticipate that the introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be in late 2024 at the earliest.’

For more information, and to respond, click here.

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