17 March 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Scotland delays DRS introduction

The Scottish government has pushed back the implementation date of its deposit return scheme (DRS) to July 2022, citing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The delay will allow retailers “more time” to prepare and also allow short term flexibility due to the outbreak, the Scottish government said.

Final regulations for Scotland’s DRS were laid in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (March 16)

In 2019 Scotland set out proposals to introduce a DRS in April 2021, which would include an ‘all-in’ model covering PET plastic drinks bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles – with a deposit level set at 20p (see letsrecycle.com story).

Final regulations for Scotland’s DRS were yesterday (March 16) laid in the Scottish Parliament by Scotland’s environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham.

This confirmed a ‘go-live’ date of 1 July 2022, which Ms Cunningham said would “give retailers and producers time to prepare for a successful scheme from day one”, while also allowing flexibility in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Having listened to the views of stakeholders, I have agreed to extend the ‘go-live’ date from April 2021 to July 2022,” she said.

Ms Cunnigham added: “This will give businesses more time to prepare their premises for the scheme and crucially, provides flexibility in the immediate term as the whole country prepares to deal with Covid-19 – the impact of which continues to be closely monitored.”

“This will give businesses more time to prepare their premises for the scheme”

Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish environment secretary

Zero Waste Scotland explained that the final regulations “maintain the ambitious approach to materials”, with glass,PET plastic, aluminium and steel all included.

The scheme will also include more 17,000 return points across the country, the government said.


Soon after Scotland’s DRS proposals were outlined in May 2019,  the Scottish government was accused of “jumping the gun” by the Scottish Environmental Services Association (see letsrecycle.com story).

SESA policy advisor, Stephen Freeland, said at the time that it was “unfortunate that the Scottish Government has opted to go it alone”.

Powers to include a DRS in England were included in the Environment Bill, and earlier consultations have suggested a 2023 introduction date.


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