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Scottish Brewers say Measures Announced for the Deposit Return Scheme Don’t Solve its Fundamental Flaws

Small producers and importers including independent craft brewers, distillers and wine makers, say the recently announced changes to the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will help alleviate cashflow issues, but much more needs to be done to make the scheme viable and deliverable. This includes increasing the threshold from 3m units to 5m units for businesses exempt from the day one and month one charges, and further necessary steps not included in the changes announced by Circularity Scotland Limited (CSL) this week. Without addressing SME legitimate concerns, Circularity Scotland could fall short of their claim to register over 4,500 producers.

Following a disappointing meeting with the Minister yesterday, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), and Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA), have today made a united call for the Scottish Government and Circularity Scotland to urgently address the remaining key concerns for small producers in the fast approaching system and carry out an immediate full Gateway Review as recommended in the previous review published in December.

In a joint statement the trade associations said:
“The registration for DRS closes within days at the end of February and whilst these recently announced changes will certainly alleviate cashflow issues when the system is introduced, it leaves a mountain to be climbed for small businesses to be compliant with the scheme, with essential changes still needed to fix the system’s fundamental flaws. In order to make the scheme viable there are three key changes that must be made; a simplified registration available over a longer time period, an 18 month grace period for small producers and a de-minimis low volume exemption to allow the supply chain and retailers the time to work out the inevitable teething troubles, and an increased focus on providing producers and retailers timely information and solutions which are proportional to the environmental impact of businesses.”

“Small producers contribute a tiny proportion of products towards Scotland’s littering issues and yet are being burdened with the same legislative complexity and costs as Global producers. The Minister should urgently carry out a new full Gateway Review that was recommended last year.”