BREAKING NEWS: Deposit Return Scheme DELAYED UNTIL 2024!!!

In 2018, the UK Government made a commitment to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England and to work with Devolved Administrations to set up schemes across the UK to help tackle the plastic pollution crisis . After three years of waiting, today, the government announced a further delay to the introduction of the scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland until 2024 – at the earliest.

This is simply unacceptable.

Photo credit: Jonathan Goodchild

A recent study by Reloop revealed that every year we go without a Deposit Return Scheme 8 billion more containers are lost to the environment. This means, since 2018, when the government made the commitment to introduce the DRS, a shocking 24 billion containers, including plastic bottles, and drinks cartons have polluted our blue and green spaces. This could have easily been prevented if the government had followed through with their promises and introduced an ‘all-in’ DRS.

If we have to wait until the end of 2024 56 Billion containers will have been lost into the environment as a result of the governments dither and delay.

To stop the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean we need the government to stop the inexcusable delays and deliver on their promise to introduce a DRS.

Amy Slack Head of Campaigns and Policy said,

The delay of the introduction of a DRS system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will result in billions of drinks containers polluting the ocean, rivers, streams and parks. This is simply unacceptable. The government committed to the introduction of DRS in its own manifesto in 2019 and this delay will mean that they will fail to meet this manifesto pledge.

Our own #GenerationSea blueprint survey shows that 80% of the British public have a greater appreciation of the environment as a result of the pandemic – we cant continue to use COVID-19 as an excuse to further delay progressive policy that will help achieving  a green recovery that is critical for the environment and human health and wellbeing. We need an ALL-IN DRS system NOW.

We are calling on the government to introduce an effective ‘all-in’ Deposit Return Scheme, that takes drinks containers of all sizes and materials, now, not later.

Our 2018 extensive Bottle Monitoring research project found that 58% of bottles found on UK beaches would be excluded from an ‘on-the-go’ DRS. That’s why we need an ‘all-in’ Deposit Return Scheme that takes drinks containers of all sizes and as many different materials as possible.

We need to send a message to the government and show them the result of their empty promises. Take action today and join us in flooding social media with photos of drinks containers, of all shapes and sizes, that you find at the beaches, parks, rivers and streets! Follow the simple steps:




Make sure to tag your local MP and add the hashtag #DepositReturnScheme, #WildBottleSighting. Or use something like this.

Hey @Defra, your empty promises are choking our blue spaces! This drinks container could have been captured by an all-in #DepositReturnScheme but its ended up in the ocean. [TAG local MP] will you help tackle the plastic pollution crisis and support an all-in #DRS? #WildBottleSighting @surfersagainstsewage’


We also want you to get in touch with your MP directly to call on them to support the introduction of a consistent all-in DRS system for all nations of the UK. You can  email your MP at

If your in Wales you can also contact your Senedd Member, find them here
And in Northern Ireland you can contact your assembly member too, find them here