Barcode standardising agency GS1 has suggested how the Deposit Return Scheme should be implemented in the UK following its conference on the future of the DRS.

With all four UK nations planning to introduce some form of DRS by 2025, Anne Godfrey, CEO of GS1 UK, said the DRS “has the potential to be a major step forward in the fight against packaging waste and litter”. However, she highlighted the need to raise consumer awareness of the scheme, with a recent GS1 study finding that 26% of consumers are unaware of what the DRS is. 

While GS1 UK notes falling recycling rates as a “major barrier” to reducing packaging waste, it urged for a DRS scheme focused on “simplicity and convenience” so as to not deter retailers or consumers. 

With GS1 finding that 34% of consumers believe “recycling is unnecessarily complicated”, it reinforced the need for the DRS scheme to have ease of use at its core. A further 38% of business owners said that they were unaware of the proposed schemes, with 33% raising concerns over the added operational costs.

However, around 70% of businesses told GS1 that the introduction of the DRS would be a “positive step for their industry”. 

Looking ahead, GS1 suggested that maintaining a level of consistency across the UK would help to simplify the scheme for businesses and consumers.

“Were each of the four UK nations to adopt different identifiers or standards as they implement deposit return schemes, the complexity could make it impossible for producers, retailers and wholesalers – as well as consumers – to manage.”