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Fixing the future of plastics by doing the right thing

Date: January 27, 2020

Category: Industry news

Scotland will soon be the first UK nation to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

Available throughout the country, it has been designed to make it easier for everyone to recycle their used bottles and cans, including all drinks sold in PET plastic, metal and glass.

The proposed draft regulations include a provisional start date for the scheme of 1 April 2021, but this is proving to be a concern for businesses for a number of reasons:

  • The accelerated timeframe for implementation
  • Setup of the scheme administrator
  • Development of labelling/identification and IT systems
  • New infrastructure costs for reverse-vending machines and counting centres
  • Establishment of enforcement and monitoring mechanisms

Why have GS1 UK set up the DRSIG?

The DRS interest group (DRSIG) was created to inform GS1 UK members about proposed labelling options and their associated impacts in the advance of the roll-out of DRSs in Scotland and the wider UK.

The DRSIG will meet to discuss the following topics ahead of making recommendations for consideration by the DRS implementation advisory group (DRSIAG):

  1. Scheme administrators should consider using an industry wide product-registration service that extends beyond DRS to solve multiple use cases. GS1 UK is seeking to work with producers, retailers and RVM manufacturers to understand the implications of sourcing, validating and distributing all the mandatory product information included in the proposed DRS data model.

    For this to be workable, the sharing of data between multiple partners – who are likely operating different IT systems and using incompatible taxonomies – can most efficiently be solved and future-proofed using a standardised approach.

    Producers don’t want to log in to yet another portal to register and maintain product information, they want a single point of connection for the dissemination of their data.
  2. The scheme administrator’s IT system should avoid using proprietary coding. This could have a negative effect on labelling, locking a producer into a specific technology solution. It also restricts data sharing and the transparency needed to build trust in the scheme’s overall administration. Interoperable standards have a key role to play in any forward movement, and consideration for the future of on-pack labelling.
  3. Scheme administrators should consider making a registry of collection points available to app developers. Recyclers can then find rich information about their nearest collection points, from current capacity to location and type of collection – either reverse-vending or manual.

    If every collection point registered with a scheme administrator is marked in a standard way, for instance with a GS1 Global Location Number, that will support and future-proof traceability for years to come.
  4. Traceability and transparency have become key enablers for trust and safety in the supply chain, not only between consumers and producers, but also between manufacturers and their suppliers.

    Producers should be incentivised to invest in innovative solutions that reduce scheme administration costs and the potential for fraud.

Who should attend?

GS1 UK members affected by the regulations, actively engaged and attending the Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) implementation work groups.

What are the key take-homes

  1. Using available technology to deliver workable solutions within the proposed timeframe
  2. How standards can be used to support information sharing between stakeholders
  3. Best-practice recommendations on how to approach information sharing that will be needed to answer questions raised by the commission

Register your interest in joining the group

Fill out my online form.