Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme which aims to increase recycling and reduce waste has been set back. The new date for the launch of the scheme will be from 16 August 2023.
The Scottish Parliament originally agreed to the scheme in 2011 and this most recent set back has been described by opposition politicians as a ‘shambles’.
Lorna Slater, is the Minister for the Circular Economy in the deal made between the Scottish Greens and the SNP. She blamed the effects the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit have had on the businesses responsible for delivering DRS for having to push the timescale back.
Lorna Slater said:
“The regulations make a number of small but important changes. They provide reassurance to online retailers providing a take-back service, clarify the treatment of products such as crowlers, help to prevent fraud and support the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to enforce compliance.”
She said that the scheme was still ambitious with targets for implementation set at 80% in 2024 and 90% in 2025.
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.
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.
Orkney is due to deliver and operate a community-run return scheme in November 2022.
The proposed pilot scheme will see a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) installed at a central location, likely to be Kirkwall, with the management of the RVM being carried out by a local charity or community organisation.
Any containers deposited in the RVM will generate a 5p charitable donation to the community partner.
All costs of the scheme will be covered by the Scottish Government and the intention is for the RVM to be operational by November 2022
Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:
“Lorna Slater was given little choice but to delay the scheme, however, if she fails to hold industry to this new deadline, the political legitimacy of the Greens in government will be severely damaged.
“The Deposit Return Scheme is the biggest test of industry’s commitment to a circular economy in Scotland so far. Failure to deliver, after they have been granted every request to delay, will prove that stronger persuasion is required to ensure industry embraces a more sustainable future.”