UK: Scotland postpones deposit return scheme

Scotland's new First Minister, Humza Yousaf who has taken office a few weeks ago, today announced a delay in the country's controversial deposit return scheme (DRS), which is supposed to help recycling billions of bottles and cans every year. Originally, UK’s first DRS was planned to go live across Scotland on 16 August 2023 (, 19.7.2022) but was now postponed until 1 March 2024.

While most people were disappointed at the delay, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), a professional body for the waste management industry in the UK, said the later date should help provide for a “smooth rollout”.

The Society of Independent Brewers also said that “today’s announcement by the First Minster that the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until March next year gives small breweries time to at least catch their breath and begin to prepare for its introduction.”

Circularity Scotland as the responsible body for the delivery and ongoing organization of the DRS said in a statement that while the organization was fully prepared to deliver the DRS on the earlier proposed date of 16 August 2023, “the scheme launch date is a policy matter for the Scottish Government”.

Circularity Scotland added: “We urge all producers and retailers who have yet to register for the scheme to contact us so we can support them through the registration process.”

The organization also noted that the new launch date gives businesses almost 10 months to prepare and those businesses who have yet to register now have until 12 January, 2024, to do so.

And, Circularity Scotland emphasized: “It remains the case that the Deposit Return Scheme is a vital element in Scotland’s path to Net Zero and will prevent billions of bottles and cans every year from ending up as waste and polluting our landscape. We remain fully committed to delivering a scheme that works for Scotland and will be working closely with all stakeholders to ensure its success.”

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