Due to a decision by the Scottish First Minister, Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will now go live on 1 March 2024.
The DRS in Scotland was scheduled to begin operating in August 2023, but Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed in his statement on 18 April that there will be “an extension of the deposit return scheme launch date to March 2024, from August this year”.
This is the second delay to the Scottish DRS, as the original date was set for July 2022.
Each nation in the UK is implementing a DRS slightly differently, with Ireland planning to launch in 2024, and England and Wales in 2025.
Humza Yousaf highlighted reasons for delay, including the “the uncertainty created by the UK Government delaying a decision on the Internal Market Act”, and “the concerns of businesses, particularly on the launch date”, as many producers fear potential financial and administrative burdens.
The DRS will charge Scottish consumers 20p for each single-use drinks container, including glass, which will be refunded to them when the container is recycled at a designated return point.
According to a recent article published in Let's Recycle, many ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also hold a strong view that Scotland would be best to delay the DRS and launch the scheme in each country at the same time for efficiency and ease.
Robbie Staniforth, Innovation and policy director at Ecosurety commented: "The new administration has clearly taken soundings and decided that preparations are not significantly enough advanced to launch the scheme on time. While a further delay adds unhelpful uncertainty, it represents a pragmatic approach. However, we are disappointed that Ministers have not taken the opportunity to harmonise the scheme on a UK-wide basis and align launch dates. The UK remains a single market and having differing legislation across the four nations is an additional bureaucratic burden on businesses with little clear benefit".
Preparing for the new launch date
The new launch date now gives businesses about 10 months to prepare and businesses who have yet to register now have until 12 January 2024, to do so.
It’s important to determine if your organisation is affected by the DRS. All producers of in-scope drink containers will be required to register, pay fees and meet a collection target set by government, with many further details still to be confirmed.
If you are affected by the Deposit Return Schemes and need further guidance, Ecosurety can assist you through data assurance and analysis, including cost forecasting to model how your business will be impacted so that you can be fully prepared. Request DRS support today.