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Scotland Deposit Return Scheme Delay

Date: 19/04/2023

The Scottish government has announced a delay to the rollout of the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf made the announcement this week, saying that this would give businesses 10 months to prepare for the scheme. 

The aim of the DRS is to reduce litter and waste by introducing a 20p deposit payment by the consumer on all single-use drinks containers. On return of the empty container, the deposit is returned to the consumer. All single use drinks containers in PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium sized between 50ml and 3 litres fall under the scheme. Producers need to register for the scheme to ensure they are meeting responsibilities. 

The Scottish DRS has attracted some controversy, with supporters describing it as world-leading and emphasising the benefits to the environment, and critics labelling it as flawed, rushed and ill thought out.  With the recent change of first minister in Scotland, and the potential for a veto from Westminster, the scheme had attracted much speculation over the rollout schedule.

The scheme was billed to go live in August this year, the new announcement pushes the go live date to 1 March 2024.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has re-iterated his government’s commitment to the environment and says that the delay will allow for measures to “simplify and de-risk” the scheme. “We will use that additional time to work with businesses…to address concerns with the scheme and ensure a successful launch next year”.

Scheme administrator Circularity Scotland has stated “We remain fully committed to delivering a scheme that works for Scotland and will be working closely with all stakeholders to ensure its success”.