Deposit Return Scheme: Sustainable Recycling - Biffa

What is a Deposit Return Scheme?

Deposit return schemes are used across the world as a way of encouraging more people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans. They work by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the bottle or can that it comes in. Consumers can then get this money back when they return the bottle or can to a collection point to be recycled. Anyone who retails the materials confirmed in the scheme may have to act as a return point.

By creating a deposit return scheme, UK Governments want to increase the recycling rate of drinks containers and reduce littering. Introducing such a scheme will help change consumer behaviour to encourage higher levels of drinks container recycling.

What does this mean for my business or organisation?

We understand this is a real challenge for our customers who operate a national estate in dealing with legislation changes implemented in one country of the UK before another. Scotland, who is also focusing on DRC to tackle climate change have confirmed that PET bottles, Steel and Aluminium cans and Glass drinks bottles will be included, and deposits will apply for drinks containers from 100ml to 3 litres. They have also opted for a flat 20p deposit for each container. England, NI and Wales are yet to define their scheme.

However following the recent EPR consultation release it is defined that glass will fall under EPR not DRS in England and Northern Ireland and that Glass will fall into DRS in Wales.  

  • Online Retailer
    DRS - Online Retailer Perspective
  • Hospitality Retailer
    DRS - Hospitality Retailer Perspective
  • Large Retailer
    DRS - Large Retailer Perspective
  • Small Retailer
    DRS - Small Retailer Perspective
  • Local Authority
    For local authorities, the volume of drink containers will potentially impact on the volume of recycling collected at the kerbside. However, DRS cans and plastic bottles (including glass in Scotland and Wales only) that end up in household waste can be redeemed by the local authority.
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1st October 2025
Earliest UK scheme will go live

Get in touch

We understand for customers the Resources and Waste strategy is a challenge when thinking what this means for your business and how this will impact you. Biffa can help support you with our team of commercial specialists can advise you through legislation, options for your business and guide you through consultations and implementation process.

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