Retailers welcome DRS developments

Both the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the Federation of Independent Retailers (Fed) have hailed the latest proposals for a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The ACS said the government’s plans “to guarantee the strategic placement of return points” was good news, after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today published a response to introducing a DRS.

The new scheme, which is intended to come into force in October 2025, targets 85% litter reduction.

The materials in scope of the scheme will differ depending on the country. For England and Northern Ireland, PET bottles, steel and aluminium cans are included in the scheme, while in Wales glass is also included. The ACS said that in all places, the scheme will include containers ranging in size from 5cl to 3 litres.

The value of the deposit will be set by a yet-to-be-appointed Deposit Management Organisation (DMO), due to be put together next year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the government’s ambition to introduce a workable deposit return scheme for retailers, consumers and the wider industry. It is essential that the scheme is inter-operable across the UK, and we must learn the lessons from the introduction of the Scottish DRS to ensure that the scheme in England, Wales and NI is both effective and sustainable. The government’s timeline of 2025 is ambitious given the planned appointment of a Deposit Management Organisation in 2024, but we are committed to working with the government, retailers and suppliers to introduce a scheme that works for everyone.”

Meanwhile, The Fed said it hopes to work closely with the DMO  to ensure the voice of the independent retailer is heard.

The Fed’s national president Jason Birks said: “We are happy to see the outcome of the consultation has favoured DRS.

“As a federation that has always been supportive of DRS, we are looking forward to engaging with the scheme operators to ensure a successful outcome for our members, many of whose stores will be actively involved.

“It is important that independent retailers are included in discussions, as they are vital return point operators. The Fed will continue to monitor DRS as it progresses and will update its members accordingly.”

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