News article

Drinks containers Deposit Return Scheme consultation

05 March 2019

The government wants your views on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in Northern Ireland to increase recycling rates and a reduce litter

A Defra consultation is seeking views on proposals to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in Northern Ireland as part of a coherent system across the UK.

A DRS would see a deposit added to the price of drinks in 'in-scope' drinks containers at the point of purchase, which would be redeemed when consumers return their empty drinks containers to designated return points. It is anticipated that a DRS will help to:

  • reduce the amount of littering
  • boost recycling levels
  • enhance possibilities to collect high quality materials in greater quantities
  • promote recycling through clear labelling and consumer messaging

It is proposed that the materials included in a DRS could be:

  • PET and HDPE plastic bottles
  • steel and aluminium cans
  • glass bottles

A broad range of drinks, including water, soft drinks, juices, alcohol, and milk-containing drinks (but not milk or plant-based drinks such as soya), where they are sold in containers made of these materials, could be included in a DRS.

You can find more detail on the proposed scope and operation of the Deposit Return Scheme policy on the Defra website.

Respond to the Deposit Return Scheme consultation now using the online form.

You can also email a copy of your response to the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) at

The consultation closes on 13 May 2019.