Review into Scottish DRS ‘go-live date’ underway  

A review of the proposed ‘go-live date’ for the Scottish deposit return scheme (DRS) is underway, the Scottish government has told letsrecycle.com.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Scottish government said that “good progress” was being made and a full update on the review would be given following the summer recess.

Initially planned for April 2021, the introduction of the DRS in Scotland was last year postponed to July 2022, to allow businesses more time to prepare in light of the pandemic.

A DRS aims to incentivise consumers to return packaging for a financial reward

During a parliamentary recess, there are normally no meetings in the debating chamber and no committee meetings. The Scottish Parliament will be on recess from 26 June to 29 August so it would appear unlikely that the findings of the review will be released until September at the earliest.

The review into the launch date for the scheme was first announced in March by the minister for rural affairs and the natural environment, Ben Macpherson (see letsrecycle.com story). He said the review was prompted by “the significant disruption caused to relevant sectors over the past year”.

‘Ambitious’

The Scottish government told letsrecycle.com: “Scotland was the first nation of the UK to pass legislation to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks cans and bottles and we remain committed to making this happen. Our ambitious scheme will increase recycling, cut littering, and help address Scotland’s contribution to the global climate emergency.

“Industry has made good progress on delivery, including the establishment of a scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, but Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the businesses that will make the scheme a success.

“That’s why we have commissioned an independent review to look at the impact of the pandemic on the go-live date. This work is underway and we will provide an update to parliament and businesses following summer recess.”

England

Any  possible further delay to the Scottish scheme could bring it line with England, where the government has said it will roll out a DRS in 2023.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow previously said that Defra continues to “liaise closely” with Scotland on the implementation of a scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The most recent consultation into the DRS for England, Wales and Northern Ireland closed on the 4 June.

Responses to the consultation were mixed. Some respondents were concerned that the DRS should be deferred until other waste reforms such as extended producer responsibility and consistency in collections had been implemented.

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