Date set for DRS

Envipco president Bob Lincoln (right) and Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry watch school kids at the launch of the RVM trial
Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry watches school kids get to grips with DRS at Broadway Premier in Oxgangs.

DEPOSIT return is set to go live on 1 April 2021.

New regulations published by the Scottish Government outline how DRS will work in Scotland.

While still subject to a consultation, the draft regulations are consistent with the Scottish Government’s established positions on a range of measures which have come under heavy fire from industry.

Under the proposed regulations, a 20p deposit will be applied to single-use PET bottles, aluminium cans and glass bottles. DRS will apply to drinks containers between 50ml and 3L in size. Earlier this year, Scottish Grocer revealed that all industry members of the Scottish Government’s DRS Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) had objected to the inclusion of glass in the system.

Despite concerns raised by trade associations, including the Scottish Grocers Federation and the Scottish Retail Consortium, all retailers who sell single-use drinks containers will be obliged to participate in the scheme – although the regulations do give ministers the power to grant exemptions.

Stores can be given an exemption if there is an alternative return point close by that has agreed to accept returns on the retailer’s behalf. Those retailers who fail to implement DRS without an exemption could face a fine of up to £10,000.

At the collection end of DRS, the scheme will be operated by a ‘scheme administrator’ funded and operated by drinks producers. Should the proposed regulations become law, the producer-operated scheme administrator will need to meet targets set by the Scottish Government: recovering 70% of packaging in year one; 80% in year two; and 90% in year three.

Once DRS goes live, all producers and suppliers selling drinks in Scotland will need to be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which has been tasked with ensuring compliance among retailers and drinks companies.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Our deposit return scheme is the first national scheme of its type in the UK. It is ambitious in scale and scope, and gives the people of Scotland a clear and straightforward way to do their bit for the environment.

“Research has shown that the scheme is anticipated to reduce the £46 million spent each year on litter removal and is expected to reduce emissions equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off our roads, while also enjoying widespread public support across Scotland.

“There is a global climate emergency which demands we show ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations. This process will enable us to fine tune our proposals to ensure that they work well for industry, retail and the public, and we will continue to work with the Implementation Advisory Group to that end. I am delighted to confirm that the regulations required to bring our Deposit Return Scheme into reality have now been laid.”

  • Retailers can still have their say on DRS. The deadline for submissions on the Scottish Government’s consultation is 10 December: It can be accessed here.