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More late stage delay for Scottish DRS

Published:  16 December, 2022

A Gateway Review into the already pushed back Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for Scotland has concluded that the scheme won’t be fit to launch by August 2023.

The Scottish DRS has already been pushed back once before, from July 2022, due to delays and disruptions arising from Covid.

Now, the review team, tasked with looking at the viability of the scheme and its 2023 launch date, has concluded that “a fully functioning and compliant DRS cannot be in operation” by that time – a conclusion that has been back by Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Beale said: “The report endorses what businesses have been telling the Scottish government for months. Even at this stage, detail about how the scheme would work is absent and the Scottish government are making further changes to the legislation, causing confusion and chaos amongst businesses who are unable to prepare or comply – let alone in time to constantly moving deadlines. 

“Until the Scottish government re-starts talks with affected businesses – and in a serious manner – the goal of a functional DRS scheme will remain out of reach.”

The WSTA continues to argue that the best way to improve glass recycling rates is to improve kerbside collection, rather than introduce a “new and complex regime” which is out of touch with “how businesses operate”. Today, Beale reiterated his belief that DRS are costly and will result in “increased costs for producers and consumers, potentially resulting in reduced consumer choice”.

Debates about the future viability of glass continue to swirl and hit headlines earlier this week. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Diageo and glass manufacturer Encirc have launched a partnership to create the world’s first net zero glass bottles at scale by 2030.

Encirc promises to be able to reduce carbon emissions by 90% using green electricity and low-carbon hydrogen at a new furnace, which it plans to build at its plant in Cheshire.

Such advances in reducing the carbon impact of glass could signal a brighter future for the material, which is hugely energy intensive to produce, transport and recycle

Currently, glass is not included in the upcoming DRS for England and Wales, with Scotland becoming the only scheme in the UK which will incentivise both consumers and businesses to return glass bottles to designated drop off points.