Wales intends to implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) that includes glass, despite the UK government’s resistance to a similar plan in Scotland.
Scotland had sought an exclusion from the UK Internal Market Act 2020 to establish its own separate DRS. Although Scotland received a temporary exclusion to advance its scheme ahead of the rest of the UK, it was mandated to remove glass from its program by 2025 to align with the UK-wide plans.
This move drew criticism from Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, who warned that the Scottish scheme might be jeopardised unless the UK government revoked its decision on the glass exemption.
Yousaf urged a rethink from the UK government, citing concerns from one of Scotland’s biggest brewers. “The removal of glass fundamentally threatens the viability of Scotland’s DRS with reduced revenue for the scheme administrator,” he warned.
“Removing glass will also have a significant impact on business. For example, C&C Group – owners of the iconic Tennent’s brand – has been explicit that the decision by the UK government to remove glass threatens investment and jobs.”
Scotland has opted to postpone the launch of its DRS until October 2025, synchronising it with the rest of the UK.
The UK government’s decision to exclude glass also impacts Wales’ plans. However, Climate Change Minister Julie James has expressed her intention to challenge the decision. “We don’t think we need the permission of the UK government to do that,” said James. “It’s England that’s the outlier here, not Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and they need to understand that.”
Wales remains committed to including glass in its planned DRS. The Welsh Government would continue to roll out its scheme in two years, despite the intended block from Westminster.
The scheme aims to offer refunds to individuals who return empty drinks containers made of plastic, glass, steel, or aluminium.
Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme
Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced in February 2024 . The Scheme will include PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150ml and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container above 500ml.
Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs).
All retailers who operate return points and take back Deposit Return Scheme ‘in scope’ containers from consumers, will be paid the following handling fees. Price is per unit regardless of material.
- Manual Collection €0.026 per container
- Automatic Collection (RVM) €0.022 per container
Additional financial supports
In addition to the handling fee of €0.022, financial support will be available for retailers opting for RVMs, subject to meeting specified criteria: Year 1 – €3,000 Year 2 – €2,000 Year 3 – €1,000 (final payment)
To receive financial supports, a retailer must provide proof of annual sales of 450,000 ‘in scope’ containers, or proof of annual returns less than 360,000 ‘in scope’ containers.
Any retailer operating from a premises of 150 sq. m and under may apply for an exemption from providing a take back service, but they must provide relevant evidence of store size.
Retailers applying for a take back exemption must clearly nominate a return point in close proximity, that provides a take back service. Retailers with an exemption must clearly display the location of the closest return point, to all their customers. All retailers must register with the scheme first, before applying for this exemption.
For more information on Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme, visit: https://re-turn.ie/