Deposit Return System (DRS) for Bottles and Cans (England & Wales)

Exit day is 31st October 2019

HMG announce today they will bring in a DRS for drinks containers (bottles and cans) in England and Wales via the Environment Bill.


The cost of the deposit would be added to the price of the drinks included in the scheme when they are purchased. This deposit would be redeemed when consumers return their empty drinks containers to a designated return point.

HMG intend the proposed scope and model of the deposit return scheme to be consulted on in 2020, with the scheme to start no later than 2023.

Statement on UK Politics

The Environmental Bill is queued after various Brexit bills. HMG has a majority of only one in Parliament. None of the Brexit bills are announced for Parliament time. 2023 is beyond the date when a General Election would be held under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

Recyclables Separate Collection (Britain) Query

In Scotland, dry recyclables (waste paper & cardboard, glass, plastic and metal) may be collected together (so long as these waste are separate from other wastes). See here for the Waste Collector’s Obligations.

In England and Wales, whilst the original 2011 enactment of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations explicitly allowed “co-mingled” collection, the 2012 amendment does away with that term.

This does not mean that collection must be as separate fractions (glass separated from paper etc) in all cases. Remember, the 2012 law amendment states:

“The duties …. apply where separate collection –
(a) is necessary to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations …. and to facilitate or improve recovery; and
(b) is technically, environmentally and economically practicable.”

DEFRA has stated it will compile and issue guidance. This post will be updated once that occurs.

Zero Waste Scotland Query

Zero Waste Scotland is today promoting its range of advice and support in connection with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012. See here for their web page entitled Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

Please note, these Regulations do not stand on their own, they insert text into s.34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (into Duty of Care). The relevant clauses are found in our Cardinal Environment consolidated Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part II document issued for Scotland, and should be read there (in conjunction with changes made by other pieces of law).

The key points are:

(1) separate collection of dry recyclables from 1 January 2014 (dry recyclables are defined to comprise glass, metals, plastics, paper or card, including cardboard). Refer to our consolidated law for the details.

(2) separate collection of food waste – again refer to our consolidated law for the details.

Find here the 2012 issued “Duty of Care – A Code of Practice” document – remember these changes affect Duty of Care (s. 34 EPA).