Skip to main content

We are planning to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) in Wales.

First published:
18 April 2024
Last updated:

What is the scheme?

When the DRS is in place, it will mean that when you buy a drink that is part of the scheme you will pay a deposit, which you get back when you return your empty bottle or can.

It is a form of extended producer responsibility, which means producers and importers of drinks covered by the scheme will have new legal responsibilities for the management and collection of their empty drink containers for recycling.

DRS pilots have also been undertaken in Conwy and Brecon to provide additional learning and understanding of a DRS scheme in action.  

A consultation (GOV.UK) took place on the introduction of the  scheme.

Why is it important?

A deposit return scheme will encourage a shift from a throwaway culture and improve the quality and quantity of recycled material collected in Wales. 

Every year UK consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles and nine billion drinks cans, many of which are littered or condemned to landfill.  Current recycling rates in the UK for containers in scope of the DRS are around 70% which leaves approximately 4bn plastic bottles, 2.7bn cans and 1.5bn  glass bottles not recycled every year.

International examples show deposit return schemes can successfully improve recycling, with rates above 90% in Germany, Finland, and Norway.

Returning and recycling empty single-use drink containers that could otherwise end up as litter or be disposed of to landfill means materials are retained within the value chain for longer. This reduces our demand on raw materials, waste to landfill, and emissions that contribute to climate change. It is a significant step towards developing a more circular economy.

For more information email: