What is DRS?

A deposit return scheme (DRS) is a system in which consumers pay a deposit fee when purchasing certain products, such as beverage containers, and receive a refund when they return the empty containers to designated collection points. The goal of DRS is to increase recycling rates, reduce litter and improve the circularity of resources by incentivizing consumers to return used containers instead of disposing of them in landfills or as litter. DRSs are used in many countries around the world and have been shown to be effective in promoting recycling and reducing waste.

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Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) have been in operation in some countries for over 40 years. In fact, the Corona soft drinks brand operated a money back scheme until the 1980’s based on the value printed on the top of their bottle caps. Children would supplement their pocket money by taking bottles back to the corner shop to get a refund.

Turn the clock forward 40 years, and DRS is set to become an important initiative in many countries, including the UK, which plans to roll out a DRS scheme starting in Scotland in 2023 and England, Wales and Irelands in 2025.

All European countries will are set to go live with their DRS programmes by the end of 2025 as part of the EU recycling mandate.