Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, announced on the 18th of April 2023 in his first major policy speech that Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) would face a 10-month delay.
In 2019, the Scottish government announced they would be passing legislation to introduce a deposit return scheme where ‘on the go’ drinks containers would incur a small deposit for consumers and allow them to return the empty bottles and cans in exchange for a refund of their deposit. The aim of the collections scheme is to increase recycling rates, reduce litter and improve resource efficiency.
The scheme’s introduction has been delayed several times with the original implementation deadline of April 2021 however, it was postponed to July 2022 due to the impacts of COVID-19. The scheme was then delayed to August 2023 with the Scottish government citing logistical and technical difficulties in regard to the readiness of infrastructure and IT systems required to support the operation of the scheme.
Despite the delays, the Scottish Government have emphasised their commitment to the collections scheme and have insisted that they will continue to work towards the implementation of the DRS in March 2024. Although Deposit Return Schemes are a popular and successful policy tool used around the world, it is important that the scheme is launched in a way that is effective, sustainable, and impactful. They plan to address all technical, logistical and economical concerns before the March 2024 launch.