Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme to launch in 2023

Viridor TOMRA

Scotland’s can and bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) will finally go live across the country in 2023 after several delays.

The Scottish Government had hoped to bring in the 20p deposit for cans and bottles in April 2021, but the pandemic forced it to be delayed.

A new date of July 2022 was put on the scheme, but this has been pushed back again with August 2023 now the new target.

People will pay a 20p deposit when they buy a drink that comes in a single-use container made of PET plastic, steel and aluminium, or glass. 

They will get their money back when they return the empty container to one of tens of thousands of return points.

As part of the phased implementation, the Scottish Government is working with retailers on a voluntary basis to enable people to start returning their bottles and cans for recycling from November 2022

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said: “This will be the first scheme of its kind in the UK and one of the most environmentally ambitious and accessible in Europe.

“Implementing a scheme on this scale is a massive national undertaking involving tens of thousands of producers and retailers. 

“Given the challenges that the pandemic and Brexit have placed upon these businesses, it is disappointing – but understandable – that the independent review concluded the original start date was no longer feasible.

“Despite calls to water down the scheme by removing materials or waiting for other nations to catch up, we have maintained our ambition and ensured that the scheme will still meet its original target of achieving 90% collection rates by 2024.

“We have also published a clear plan for delivery, with critical milestones on the path to full implementation. These include use of return points on a voluntary basis by retailers from November 2022.

“I am also delighted that Orkney will go early in offering a return scheme, which will provide benefits to the local community and recycling.”

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