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Bottling it

27 January, 2023

For those of you as interested in plastics and waste as some of us, you will be aware that DEFRA has pushed back the start date for our long-awaited Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) from 2024 to 2025. We aren’t very happy about it; are you?

Brands often dread more regulation. Having to conform is costly, especially if you haven’t put in the time and effort to prepare for its introduction, and it can remove opportunities for leadership, and the associated creation of competitive advantage. Yet there is also often recognition of the fact sometimes it is necessary for governments to enforce policies to create change throughout the system: too often, carrots are not enough if there isn’t a stick in sight.

Perhaps most frustrating of all is when regulation looks like it’s coming but then isn’t. For brands that have been investing time and resources into preparing for it and were ready, the question is why delay? Particularly given the scale of the issue the regulation was intended to tackle. The new 2025 start date means the scheme will have taken seven years to turn from idea to reality, after Michael Gove, then environment secretary, first confirmed the plans.

Regulations are costly; delays are frustrating… there’s not much to celebrate in a change that makes the circular economy even more difficult than it needs to be.

By Marie Guérinet

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