The industry has welcomed a decision to delay the implementation of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS).

Scotland’s new first minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, said yesterday that the DRS will be delayed until March 1, 2024.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the decision is “long overdue”.

“The WSTA has long been telling Scottish government that the scheme was in no fit state to be introduced and that significant further work is needed before a DRS programme of any kind is ready to be rolled out,” Beale said.

“There is a lot of work to be done before DRS can start. The scheme needs significant amendment to achieve an improvement in the quality of glass recycling rates and only then can any start date can be considered realistic.”

He said the scheme’s success will rely on the Scottish government undertaking a full review of DRS, with industry’s views “being considered meaningfully”.

Beale again called for glass to be removed from the Scottish scheme.

“We maintain our long-held position that the best way to increase glass recycling is to build on the existing infrastructure, rather than see glass included in any DRS scheme, to improve collection and recycling rates while at the same time encouraging the reduction of packaging material placed on the market,” he added.

Elsewhere, while the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) welcomed the announcement, the organisation called for retailers who have already signed contracts for reverse vending machines (RVMs) to be compensated for the delay.

In beer, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said the move would give the trade time to prepare. 

A spokesperson for SBPA added that it was also positive to hear the frst minister “confirm that the alcohol advertising consultation will be taken back to the drawing board, as this too would have placed a disproportionate burden on Scotland’s pubs and brewers at a time when they are contending with a range of other issues threatening the very viability of their businesses”.