Glass is set to be excluded from the UK government’s finalised plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS) rollout, in a move that will upset campaign groups and put the scheme at odds with the one in Scotland.

However, the plans will be warmly welcomed by huge chunks of the industry, who have warned including glass in the flagship environmental scheme would hugely add to both the costs and complexity of the system.

The Grocer understands ministers will unveil plans for an “all in” DRS system, including cans and PET, covering both retail and on-the-go, when it finally produces its response to a long-running DRS consultation later this week.

There has been huge speculation over what DRS will look like, particularly whether it would include glass, with the Scottish government pushing ahead with such a scheme due to go live in August.

“We understand that glass is to be excluded for various reasons but crucially it comes down to the costs. It would add enormous cost to DRS,” a source told The Grocer.

The row over whether to include glass has continued to rage in recent weeks.

Last week, polling of more than 2,000 people conducted by Yonder found three-quarters of Brits wanted to see glass included in a future deposit return scheme in all four nations of the UK.

Within days, a poll of slightly more households published by British Glass found 70% of households believed household collection was more convenient.

However, with ministers already encountering opposition from the industry over its plans for extended producer responsibility (EPR), which trade bodies claim will heap huge pressure on the battle to keep down inflation, ministers are believed to be loath to add to the burden by extending DRS to glass.

Meanwhile, it is believed this week’s consultation will leave the way open for digital DRS (DDRS) to be used in future incarnations of the scheme, but will conclude that the technology is not yet ready for it to be a mainstream part of the initial set-up.

“We expect the response to set out plans for a comprehensive system of reverse vending machines (RVMs) in supermarkets,” said the source.

“It is likely to give a nod to digital because it is seen as something that in the future could be valuable but it’s not as yet the nirvana some make it out to be.”

The Welsh government has been prominent in supporting trials of DDRS, amid fears the network of in store RVMs could damage the viability of local household collection services.

Another key part of the government response is expected to set out plans for an industry-led administrator to oversee the scheme, similar to that of Circularity Scotland (CSL), formed in Scotland.

Made up of key drinks providers and retailers, CSL is seen by many as a model for a UK-wide administrator.

However, it has faced opposition over its plans from smaller retailers, with a judicial review in Scotland having been launched in protest over the handling fees for retailers.

CSL and the Scottish government have been forced to make a series of major changes to the plans for DRS because of fears over the cost and readiness of industry, including allowing tens of thousand of smaller retailers to opt out.

“We would expect the UK government’s scheme to follow a similar sort of course,” said the source.

However, this week’s publication of the plans still leave the prospect of cross-border chaos, with DRS south of the border unlikely to come in until at least 2025.