UK Government delays bottle recycling scheme to 2027

The Government has postponed the launch of its bottle recycling scheme once again until 2027.

The scheme, which involves paying small cash amounts for plastic bottles or used cans, was first proposed in 2018. Environmental minister Robbie Moore has admitted that the initial target date of October 2025 was too ambitious.

The delay is due to disagreements between the UK regional administrations and the need for additional time to roll out the schemes efficiently and effectively across the UK. The devolved administrations have agreed to the new launch date of October 2027.

However, the Scottish administration has insisted on adding glass to the recycling scheme, which has caused further disagreement.

The Labour Party has criticised the delay, but the scheme has received public backing from both parties, ensuring that it will still be implemented regardless of the outcome of the next general election.

Lee Marshall – Director of Innovation and Technical Services from Chartered Institution Wastes Management (CIWM), commented: “CIWM is not surprised by Defra’s announcement of a further delay in Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)  implementation.

“Our stance on DRS has always been that its implementation should follow the introduction of the Simpler Recycling and EPR initiatives to ensure that it is still required and, if so, that it is correctly structured. This would also allow progression on digital technologies that might enable a DRS scheme based on existing kerbside collections instead of a costly network of reverse vending machines. 

“Unfortunately, however, this is the latest in a raft of policy delays from the Government, which further erode confidence in the sector and present further challenges to securing much-needed investment.  This should be a time of huge change and improvement. CIWM calls on the Government to shift its policy implementation to deliver the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy.

“If we do not get on and implement outstanding policies, we are in danger of drifting aimlessly, and we will have wasted the huge potential that the Resources and Waste Strategy promised when it was published.”

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