Big names demand DRS legislation ‘this spring’

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Key organisations have urged ministers to pass a law within weeks to bring a deposit return scheme (DRS) into force this year.

Bodies including the British Softs Drinks Association, the Federation of Independent Retailers, Coca-Cola and Greenpeace signed a letter to resources minister Robbie Moore saying it was “essential” the initiative was running by October.

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The government announced at the start of this year that it would be pressing ahead with a DRS across the UK from 2025.

However, the British Retail Consortium has called for the “costly” initiative to be held back until other waste policies are in place, and speculation has grown that it could be delayed until as late as 2028.

Now 20 organisations led by circular economy specialists Reloop have urged Moore to bring in the legislation required for a DRS ahead of a highly anticipated general election.

“The signatories of this letter, representing industry, recycling experts and environmentalists, are united in urging you to deliver a Statutory Instrument for England and Northern Ireland this spring, to deliver deposits as promised,” said the document.

“From day one, communities and individuals will see dramatic improvements in their local environmental quality and experience the economic and health benefits improved pride of place can bring.”

The letter added: “The UK must not fall behind. In the last two years alone, we’ve seen systems launch in Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Malta and Hungary. Within the next 18 months we’ll see new systems in Poland, Greece, Austria and Portugal.

“We need to ensure that our businesses and workforce can profit from the same opportunities enabled by governments elsewhere.”

A government spokesperson said: “We are pushing ahead with our programme of reforms to reduce waste and improve our use of resources and remain committed to our goal of eliminating avoidable waste by 2050.

“It’s essential that we work closely with industry to make sure our reforms will be a success, and we will continue to engage with businesses closely as we proceed with introducing the DRS.”