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Scotland’s DRS delayed until October 2025

On Wednesday the 7th June, Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater announced that Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until October 2025 "at the earliest". This is the same deadline as the English, Welsh and Northern Irish DRS implementation.

This announcement follows the UK Government reaffirming its position on granting Scotland’s DRS an exemption from the Internal Market Act for PET plastic drinks containers and steel and aluminium cans, despite Scotland’s plan to include glass drinks containers in their scheme.

The Scottish cabinet met on Wednesday 7th June to discuss the schemes fate following a letter sent to the UK Prime Minister by Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousef requesting a full exemption from the Internal Market Act for Scotland’s DRS which was declined.

Scotland’s Circular Economy Minister said:

“As of today, it is now clear that we have been left with no other option than to delay the launch of Scotland’s DRS, until October 2025 at the earliest based on the UK Government’s current stated aspirations.

I remain committed to interoperable DRS schemes across the UK provided that we can work in a spirit of collaboration not imposition. I wrote again last night to the UK Government, to urge ministers to reset a climate of trust and good faith to galvanise and retain the knowledge that has been built in Circularity Scotland and DRS partners in Scotland.

This Parliament voted for a Deposit Return Scheme. I am committed to a Deposit Return Scheme. Scotland will have a Deposit Return Scheme. It will come later than need be. It will be more limited than it should be. More limited than Parliament voted for.”

Now with additional planning time and increased regulatory alignment between the UK’s respective Deposit Return Schemes, we hope that this will ultimately result in a more effective DRS for Scotland as well as meeting the collective aim of improving recycling rates and increasing resource efficiency.

Martin Trigg-Knight

Director of Compliance Services

What is the Internal Market Act?

The Internal Market Act serves as a strategic policy initiative in the post-Brexit landscape, the policy aims to promote harmonious trade relations among the four UK nations. Due to the 20p deposit rate laid out in the Scottish DRS legislation, if an exemption from the act were not to be granted, the legal implication of this decision could have rendered the Scottish scheme inviable.

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