Deposit Return Scheme delays: our response

On 25 April, UK Government announced that the pending roll out of deposit return schemes (DRS) across the UK has been further delayed from 2025 to 2027.

In 2006, Keep Wales Tidy published a policy document where we called for a mandatory deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic, glass, and metal drinks containers to protect our landscape from litter. 

It is now 18 years later, and while we recognise the need for a pragmatic approach to delivering a DRS, we remain bitterly disappointed by the decision to delay its implementation once again. 

We do, however, welcome Wales’ clear ambition to establish a world-class all-in system here – which includes glass – building on our well-established reputation as international leaders in recycling. We would encourage other governments within the UK to match this level of ambition, rather than defer to the lowest common denominator position.  

Let's get it done

Our latest data shows that the occurrence of glass bottles on Wales’ streets has more than doubled in the last four years, and drinks litter can now be found on 43.6% of Wales’ streets. That’s nearly 60,000 containers lying on pavements and roadsides in our communities, and that doesn’t include parks and beaches where they can make up to as much as 94% of all items littered. 

More than 40 countries have already successfully implemented a DRS, including Latvia where they have seen a 61% reduction in littered plastic containers since introducing the scheme in 2022.  Deposit return schemes work, and we cannot afford further delay. 

DRS is good for nature, good for communities and good for our future economy – let’s get it done.

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