UK Deposit Return Scheme- Return, Recycle and Reward

Back in 2018 the UK Government announced plans to introduce a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2024. Born out of the Waste and Resources Strategy which also included the review of the Extended Producer Responsibility and Packaging legislations.

A deposit return scheme aims to create a consistent approach to the way consumers can recycle drinks bottles and cans and puts responsibility and ownership of the collection (and recycling) on to the brands and retailers supplying consumers with this packaging (waste) rather than it being with the local councils to collect in public places or at people’s homes.

How does Deposit Return Schemes work?

A small extra deposit will be added on to the price of drinks sold in plastic and glass bottles and cans. Once consumers return the container for recycling a deposit is redeemed for cash. Scotland’s administrators of the scheme, Circularity Scotland Ltd, are working with companies throughout the supply chain from producers to retailer to deliver a system that is expected to collect 90% of drinks containers. Zero Waste Scotland predicts 34,000 fewer plastic bottles, cans and glasses littered every day in Scotland, saving £62 million a year.

These schemes are already set up in many countries and help to tackle climate change and reduce litter.

When is a Deposit Return being introduced?

Scotland is set to introduce its scheme earlier than the rest of the UK. The administrators Circularity Scotland Ltd are planning for go live in July 2022. For the remainder of the UK the scheme, which initially was planned for roll out in 2023 is delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

What happens next?

While the details are still being finalised, many supermarket chains and retailers are starting to trial reverse vending machines, such as the EcoVend range, to facilitate the scheme’s introduction.

Not only will this shift support to increase recycling rates and reduce litter, it will also foster a positive consumer behavioural shift, supporting with the overall ambition to move from a linear (take, make, dispose) economy, to a circular economy that keeps resources within the economy as long as possible.

The EcoVend range has been developed to facilitate future deposit return schemes. Already being used Internationally, our reverse vending machines feature technical innovations as well as cutting-edge functionality. Now is a great time for businesses to prepare and secure machines for their locations and stores.