Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland confirmed for 2023 launch

The Scottish Government announced that their Deposit Return Scheme will be underway by August 2023.

Parts of the system will be implemented ahead of the new date, with collection processes employed in November 2022. Legal text asking the Scottish Parliament to approve this new go-live date has been put forward.

The announcement follows an independent review, which considered the impact of COVID-19 on DRS plans. The scheme was previously planned to be operational by July 2022. 

Other important objectives for the scheme delivery, outlined to the Scottish government, include:

  • The scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, will sign contracts with partners to deliver the scheme’s logistics by March 2022
  • Consumer awareness campaigns to be published and counting/sorting centres to be established by August 2022
  • From November 2022, some of the necessary infrastructure at retail sites will be in-situ, and voluntary collections will begin
  • Circularity Scotland and SEPA will begin registering producers in January 2023
  • Finally, by July 2023, the system will be tested from producer to consumer

England, Wales and Northern Ireland still TBC

The details for the DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to be confirmed, and the go-live date has already been delayed until 2024.

We expect the forthcoming Summary of Responses from government to this year’s consultation to provide more clarity regarding Defra’s vision for the system’s design, however having one DRS system in Scotland, and another for the other three devolved nations presents complications for liable producers.

This is especially true as we know there will be some key operational differences – for instance, a set deposit of 20p is already enshrined in the Scottish legislation whereas Defra proposes the Deposit Management Organisation administrate deposit levels for the rest of the UK.

Another difficulty is how potentially different labelling requirements interact with both the Internal Market Act (2020), and producer to consumer supply chains. As more clarity emerges we will provide updates to ensure producers are aware of any potential impacts.

Find out more about the proposed Deposit Return Schemes.

Louisa Goodfellow

Policy Manager

As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 16/12/2021 Topics Packaging
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