13 August 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Lobby groups press for ‘all-in’ DRS

As the government continues to shape policy for its proposed deposit return scheme (DRS), lobby groups have backed calls for an ‘all-in’ scheme for a wide range of materials. 

A group of 20 cross-party MPs today (13 August) signed an early day motion calling on the Prime Minister to back an ‘all-in’ scheme which would include coffee cups, cartons and pouches.

A lobby group of 20 cross-party MPs have called on the Prime Minister to back an ‘all-in’ DRS which would include coffee cups

Representative MPs from all four nations of the UK say they believe a comprehensive system could “tackle Britain’s endemic waste problem”.

This was backed by two influential campaign groups, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage.


The government is set to introduce a deposit return scheme covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2023, while Scotland has pledged to introduce an ‘all-in system’ in 2022.

In Scotland, its system was delayed by a year after initially planning to introduce it in 2021. This includes an ‘all-in’ model covering PET plastic drinks bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles, with a deposit level set at 20p.

Formal second stage consultations on three areas of proposed waste and recycling legislation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland look set to take place in early 2021 (see letsrecycle.com story). These are to cover a DRS for drinks packaging in England, extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging and consistency in recycling collections.

The MPs are calling for all materials to be included in the UK’s proposals for all four countries.


Campaigners welcomed calls for a comprehensive system – pointing to the fact that such a system has already “operated successfully across Scandinavia for decades”.

“Naturally some drinks manufacturers want their containers excluded from the scheme. But this is short-sighted in the extreme”

Dr Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society

Dr Laura Foster, head of clean seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “No matter if it is a coffee cup, glass bottle or PET bottle, when rubbish gets into our environment it kills our planet.

“Naturally some drinks manufacturers want their containers excluded from the scheme. But this is short-sighted in the extreme.

“Only an all-in system can protect our natural world for generations to come. MPs are right to highlight this.”

Surfers Against Sewage chief executive Hugo Tagholm said: “In 2017 more than 300,000 people signed our petition demanding a well-designed deposit return scheme to tackle pollution.

“Whitehall has a once-in-a-generation chance to go all out to go all in. The Government cannot afford to mess this up.”


The motion was backed by Liberal Democrat leadership contender Layla Moran, Conservative MP Scott Benton, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.

Labour MPs joining the calls include Claudia Webbe, Mohammad Yasin, Rosie Cooper, Mick Whitley, and Grahame Morris.

In Wales, the motion was signed by Plaid Cymru MPs Ben Lake and Hywel Williams and independent Jonathan Edwards. In Northern Ireland, MPs Colum Eastwood, Jim Shannon and Claire Hanna joined the calls. SNP MPs Chris Stephens and Allan Dorans also backed the move.

The scheme will see shoppers pay a deposit on drinks containers that can be redeemed when the container is returned.


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