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UK-wide drinks bottle recycling scheme delayed to 2027

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The Government has delayed its bottle recycling scheme again until 2027, with ministers blaming the delay on disagreements between the UK regional administrations.

The government’s flagship deposit returns scheme (DRS) which would see small cash amounts being paid in return for plastic bottles or used cans, has been postponed, despite first being officially proposed in 2018.

In a written statement environmental minister Robbie Moore admitted “launching a DRS in October 2025 was a stretching target date”.

Moore added: “Following extensive engagement with industry, who will be responsible for delivering the DRS, and a review of international approaches to DRS implementation, additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK.

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“With the agreement of ministerial colleagues across the devolved administrations, the DRS will go live in October 2027.”

MPs have blamed the pushback on inability of the government to agree on nuances of the initiative, such as the Scottish administration, which insists on being able to add glass to the recycling scheme.

Among critics of this latest delay in policy, Labour has voiced its criticism of the decision, but noted it still publicly backed the scheme – meaning regardless of who wins the next general election, the initiative will still be implemented.

The government’s plans follows several businesses introducing their own bottle recycling return initiative, such as Lidl who earlier in the year became the first supermarket to roll out its own PET plastic return scheme, in exchange for incentives.

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