Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme delayed to 2023

hand reaching for one of two brown glass bottles on a shelf

The Scottish government has announced a new date for the implementation of its Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The scheme, which was scheduled to go live in July 2022, will now be implemented on 16 August 2023.

The announcement follows an independent review which highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on the scheme.

DRS measures include a 20p deposit charged to consumers when they buy a drink that comes in a single-use container made of PET plastic, steel and aluminium, or glass. The scheme will require all retailers in Scotland to take back containers, charge the deposit on eligible containers, and refund on return.

 The move to set a later date has been welcomed by retailers.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the clarification of the timelines for the introduction of a deposit return scheme in Scotland, this will allow more time to design and implement a scheme that will be workable and effective for both businesses and consumers. This is still a tight timescale and we all have to commit to working at pace over the next twenty months.

 “There are still a number of important decisions to be made around handling fees as well as addressing key operational issues around manual handling and the handling of glass bottles. We will continue to engage with the Scottish Government and Circularity Scotland ahead of implementation to communicate the key priorities of our sector.” 

According to the ACS, the Scottish government is planning to work with retailers on a voluntary basis on a phased implementation, which will enable consumers to start returning their bottles and cans for recycling from November 2022.

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