Enfield in north London has been chosen to carry out the first urban city trial of a digital deposit return scheme (DDRS).

The DDRS Alliance, which includes companies Tetra Pak, Valpak and Polytag, will run a pilot of between six to eight weeks in Enfield, which has a population of over 150,000.

The Grocer revealed in November that DDRS supporters planned to launch an urban trial following the first whole town pilot in Brecon, Wales, last year.

The move comes with the government admitting its plans for a DRS rollout across the UK are set to be delayed for at least two years from its previously planned October 2025 launch date. Food and drink industry bosses have said it will be impossible to launch before the middle of 2028.

Digital DRS supporters claim technology that relies mainly on people using their smartphones to recycle products should now be taken up by ministers, to save on the huge cost and time of introducing a network of reverse vending machines in stores.

However, the alliance said it still needed to convince some shareholders that a digital DRS system could perform successfully in an area where compliance was likely to be lower and where there was more of a threat of fraud.

The alliance has also previously worked predominantly in Wales, which has higher levels of recycling uptake than elsewhere in the UK. It claimed bringing the trial to Enfield was a crucial step in convincing ministers a digital system would work.

The trial will start in  September and will provide consumers with a reward of up to 30p for returning used drink containers for recycling.

It will use both return points in store and communal residential bins, which will allow the trial to evaluate a segregated kerbside process for returns.

The alliance plans to uniquely code drink contains across a number of convenience stores across Enfield, with all drinks between 100ml to 3L packaged in PET, metal cans and cartons, excluding large multipacks (six-packs and more), included.

Larger multipacks will also be included where the producer serialises the individual units. Those products not coded in manufacture will have a uniquely coded sticker applied.

Consumers will register to participate in-store and be provided with coded bags to return their used containers and receive a reward.

The alliance said the trial would also be testing additional measures to identify, control and limit fraud, with the aim of demonstrating how digital DRS can be virtually fraud-free at a national level.

The Welsh government earlier this month released the full results of the Brecon trial, which covered more than 4,000 households and showed nearly 60% of returns came through household collection.

“We are taking this challenge head-on by running a trial in an urban environment, in a challenging London borough,” said alliance co-founder Duncan Midwood.

“We have also decided to address many of the brands’/producers’ concerns about DRS material being placed back into the mixed recycling kerbside stream, thereby potentially contaminating it and losing transparency of the supply of recyclate.

“In the trial, we will do this through a segregated kerbside process where householders are asked to return their ‘DRS material’ in separate bags/bins.

“Finally, we are keen to see how digital DRS can help address the challenge of improving recycling through communal bins – something Brecon did not have.”