Deposit Return Scheme delayed until March 2024

20th April 2023

Originally scheduled for August 2023, the Government has delayed the Deposit Return Scheme to March 2024.

An article from the provides the following:

The launch of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will be delayed until 1 March next year, First Minister Humza Yousaf has announced, as he looks to “re-set” the government’s relationship with business.

The scheme was due to come into force on 16 August, despite concerns from businesses, but will now be pushed back by 10 months.

“I remain committed to this scheme as a way to increase recycling, reduce litter and help achieve our net zero ambitions, but we recognise the uncertainty that continues to be created as a result of the UK Government delaying the decision to exclude the scheme from the Internal Market Act,“ he stated.

“We had hoped for that decision this week – but it has not come.

“At the same time, I - and the Circular Economy Minister - have heard the concerns of business, particularly about the scheme’s readiness for launch this August.

“As a result, we will now delay the launch of the scheme to the 1st of March 2024 - this provides 10 months for businesses to get ready.

“We will use that additional time to work with businesses, and Circularity Scotland, to address concerns with the scheme and ensure a successful launch next year.”

A package of measures, Yousaf said, would also be put in place to “simplify and de-risk” the scheme.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Mark Kent responded: “Our industry has always supported the goals of the scheme, but the Scottish DRS as currently devised would hamper the efforts of businesses across the country to reduce waste and bring about a more circular economy.

“The delay until March 2024 and full review in the coming months will enable us to work with government to ensure DRS is aligned with other systems across the UK and to once again look at the exclusion of glass, which the experience of international schemes tells us will help to simplify the scheme, and reduce the cost for businesses and consumers.”

However, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “The Tories are holding Scotland and an entire generation of people hostage with made-up rules in the middle of a climate crisis.

“They have deliberately conspired to undermine business confidence and showed contempt for the Scottish Parliament, environmental charities and thumbed their nose at every nation who came to Glasgow seeking leadership at COP26.

"This is a Tory government that is giving even more of the North Sea to fossil fuel giants and opening a new coal mine - only with the Scottish Greens in government does Scotland stand a chance of delivering the kind of vision that is needed to overcome such planet-sized stupidity.”

Meanwhile, proposals to restrict alcohol advertising will be sent “back to the drawing board”, Yousaf said.

A consultation on the plans had been launched, with the possibility of alcohol being obscured in shops, raising concerns about the cost of shop re-fits among retailers.

“The aim of this consultation - to reduce the harm caused by alcohol to children - is admirable; I support it wholeheartedly,” the First Minister told MSPs on Tuesday.

“But it is clear that some of the proposals have caused real concern to an industry which is already facing challenges on multiple fronts.

“I have therefore instructed my officials to take these ideas back to the drawing board, and to work with the industry, and with public health stakeholders, to agree a new set of proposals.

“I believe that all of us want to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, particularly to young people but without undermining Scotland’s world class drinks industry or tourism sector.

“I am hopeful that by taking a fresh look at this issue, we can find a way forward which achieves both of those aims.”

Comment from Stephen Percy Robb - Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive:

"We are pleased to see that businesses will be given a reprieve on the rollout date of the DRS scheme to allow them to manage the process and feed back to those creating the systems.

We do not disagree with the scheme per se, but we need to guarantee all information and plans are in place to ensure a successful scheme that we can all get behind."

If you have any questions or concerns about the scheme that you would like to share with Fife Chamber, contact us here:

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