The government has confirmed that the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will be pushed back until October 2027.

Subject to approval by the devolved assemblies, the revised date was confirmed in a statement by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Robbie Moore that the previously planned date of October 2025 was “stretching”, and that “following extensive engagement with industry, who will be responsible for delivering the DRS, and a review of international approaches to DRS implementation, additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK”.

The scheme is part of The UK government, DAERA in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government’s aim to increase recycling rates of single-use drinks containers to at least 90%, up from 70-75%.

Stores will be able to apply for an exemption from the obligation to host a return point, on grounds of either:

  • breach of health and safety requirements (such as footprint impedes walkway safety)
  • close proximity to another return point

The government added that further work is required to consider adequate spatial distribution and planning of return points, in particular looking at areas with high littering and high footfall such as shopping centres, and considering access needs, for example in rural and island areas.

It is also working on taking forward legislation to bring the schemes into existence across the UK, and amending the existing Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman welcomed the announcement. “We welcome this clarification from the Government on the introduction of DRS. It’s essential that the scheme is given every opportunity to succeed, which involves as much alignment as possible between UK nations, the strategic mapping of sustainable return points, and the creation of the Deposit Management Organisation (DMO). We will continue to work with our members on how they can engage with the scheme.”