UK DRSs are happening, but is the glass half full or half empty?

Photo source: Circular Online
Photo source: Circular Online


Thirteen years after making the case for a deposit return system (DRS) in the UK, Eunomia Research & Consulting says that last month’s confirmation that a DRS would be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was very welcome (a separate scheme is due to launch in Scotland in August).

Let’s start with some positives:

  • There is a 90% collection target.
  • An industry-led, not-for-profit deposit management organisation (DMO) will be responsible for the scheme. There is an option for multiple DMOs but the beverage industry has rejected this in other countries, recognising the additional costs and risks.
  • A so-called “on-the-go” DRS is disregarded. Excluded larger containers and multipacks never made environmental or economic sense.
  • It will be a return to the retail system. Eunomia’s global reviews of DRSs have highlighted how such systems are associated with the highest return rates because of their inherent convenience.

However, there are some negatives.


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