News / Press release / Sustainability

Deposit Return Scheme delayed until 2027, with UK-wide commitment

Governments across the UK have committed to pursuing aligned schemes and have removed hospitality from the list of mandatory return points.

There will be three separate schemes: one covering England and Northern Ireland, and others in each of Scotland and Wales.

It has also been confirmed that:

  • The size of containers within scope of DRS (across all UK nations) will be 150ml to 3L. Any containers outside of this range will be in scope of the Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging
  • Return point operators will be required to accept returns of DRS drinks containers which have been purchased anywhere in the UK
  • There will be an aligned deposit level across the UK
  • Deposit Return Schemes in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will include containers made of PET, steel and aluminium cans. Wales will additionally include glass

Sector victory

There has already been one significant change for the sector, which UKHospitality has been calling for.

The update has confirmed that hospitality will no longer be required to act as a return point, but venues can voluntarily host a return point.

This is a victory for the sector and was a key ask of UKHospitality, due to the cost and complexity involved.

UK response

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said: “I’m pleased that all governments across the UK have listened to the concerns of UKHospitality and will be pursuing schemes that ensure maximum alignment and interoperability across the UK.

“The collaboration between governments to reach this point has been positive to see and should act as a blueprint of how to work together on other common areas of concern.

“We support the delay until 2027 and it is recognition of the significant amount of work that still needs to take place to make these schemes work.

“I’m delighted to see this new phase begin with changes that are good for hospitality businesses, most notably not requiring hospitality venues to host a return point. This was a key ask of UKHospitality and such an approach will avoid unnecessary complexity and cost for businesses.

“Hospitality already has one of the best recycling records in the economy and we can do even more, so I hope all governments across the UK will continue to work with us to make these schemes work for businesses, consumers and all of our sustainability objectives.”

Scotland response

Leon Thompson, Executive Director of UKHospitality Scotland, said: “This announcement is a clear signal that the Scottish Government has listened to our concerns and learnt lessons from its previous attempts to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme.

“Scottish hospitality businesses understood how costly and challenging it would be to act as return points and I’m pleased that this has moved to businesses being able to opt-in, rather than being forced to take back drinks containers.”

Wales response

David Chapman. Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru, said: “We’ve argued consistently for alignment for the Deposit Return Schemes and we’re pleased that Welsh Government has listened to us and reacted positively.

“It remains the case that Wales will be an outlier in some aspects but the inclusion of glass is less of a concern now that hospitality venues are not required to act as return points. However, it would still be preferable to have a UK-wide consensus on the scope of materials.”