Scotland’s controversial deposit return scheme is to be delayed until October 2025 at the earliest.
The recycling scheme was expected to launch in March 2024, however, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said she had been left with no choice after the UK government excluded glass from the Scottish scheme.
She said she remained committed to introducing the recycling scheme – although it will be more limited than originally intended.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament, Ms Slater said:
“It is clear that Scotland’s deposit return scheme, in the scope and form passed by this parliament, cannot go ahead as currently planned.
“Over the last 10 days, and right now, we are urgently establishing to what extent there is a way forward for a modified scheme, its scope, terms and timescales.
“That crucially depends on whether the UK government can provide timely, stable and reliable assurances on basic operational matters, such as trading standards, the 20p deposit and producer fees.
“It also depends on to what extent there is industry support for an alternative scheme.”
Responding to the news UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“Hospitality businesses across Scotland will be breathing a huge sigh of relief hearing this news and I’m delighted that the concerns raised by UKHospitality Scotland have been heard loud and clear.
“The Deposit Return Scheme, even before recent UK Government interventions, was not ready to launch in March and businesses had made that clear to the Scottish Government. Evidently, those interventions have made the prospect of launch impossible.
“This is the third delay to the scheme and it is imperative that there is now a joined up approach from all governments. It’s crucial that there is maximum alignment and interoperability across all schemes, to make things as simple as possible for businesses.
“Businesses are not against a recycling scheme – far from it. Hospitality already has one of the best recycling records in the economy and we can do even more, but a Deposit Return Scheme needs to work for businesses. It cannot be yet another piece of red-tape that is costly and burdensome.
“It’s time for work to begin on a scheme that can genuinely achieve the environmental and sustainability ambitions we all have, with true engagement with business.”
A NTIA Scotland Spokesperson said:
“NTIA Scotland welcomes the news that the Scottish Government’s DRS scheme will be delayed in its current form until at least October 2025 until a UK wide set of standards can be agreed.
Scotland’s DRS scheme as it had been designed was simply unworkable and both the Scottish and UK Governments must now take this opportunity to review the fundamental flaws and challenges that would have severely disadvantaged Scotland’s small businesses.”
“At a meeting this morning with the First Minister the single biggest message from business was that any scheme must be identical in scope and timing across the whole of the UK. It’s important that we take a common sense approach and consider how to design a consistent and fair UK wide set of scheme standards, avoiding market distortions.”
“We will continue to engage with Governments across all 4 nations of the UK on the implementation of a UK wide set of DRS scheme standards that learn lessons from the pitfalls and mistakes which unfortunately were not able to be resolved in Scotland .”