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    Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme ‘on course for August launch’?

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    Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme has today (1) reached a key milestone, with producers responsible for more than 95 per cent of the containers sold in Scotland now registered for one of the country’s biggest ever recycling programmes.

    Scheme administrator Circularity Scotland welcomed those producers who have now registered. SEPA, the scheme’s regulator, has confirmed registration will remain open to enable all producers to sign up in time for the launch of the Deposit Return Scheme on 16 August, 2023.

    Circularity Scotland confirmed that by midnight on 28 February, producers responsible for more than two billion recyclable drinks containers had registered for the scheme, representing more than 95 per cent of the total volume of products sold in Scotland each year.

    Products from a range of sectors including global soft drinks, craft brewers, wine importers and distilleries have been registered with the scheme. By 28 February, 26,000 products had been registered, illustrating the scale of the scheme and the choice that will exist for consumers.

    “This is a fantastic start and a real landmark for the Deposit Return Scheme, which is set to deliver ground-breaking environmental benefits to Scotland,” said Circularity Scotland Chief Executive, David Harris.

    “I would like to warmly welcome and thank all those producers who have registered for the scheme and emphasise that our team of experts are on hand to continue supporting registration.

    “We’ve never underestimated the challenge of delivering a scheme which requires the support of   so many Scottish businesses. They will all be helping us to reach the goal of recycling billions of PET plastic, glass and metal drinks containers a year.  We’re now well on the way to achieving that vital ambition.

    “I would encourage those producers who have begun their registration to complete it as soon as possible and can assure those producers who have yet to sign up, that we have people on hand to support them through the process.”

    Today also marks the start of another key milestone in the scheme with the opening of registration for Return Point Operators (RPOs).

    An RPO is anyone who provides a service for the collection of recyclable PET plastic, metal and glass containers included in Scotland’s scheme and refunds consumers’ deposits.

    This service can range from accepting returns over the counter and refunding consumers’ deposits from the till, to operating a Reverse Vending Machine which will automatically accept containers and refund deposits as vouchers.

    Most retailers and hospitality businesses that sell drinks to take away are legally required to operate a return point. This includes online retailers of drinks. However, they can apply for an exemption based on proximity to other return points or environmental health reasons. This is being managed by Zero Waste Scotland.

    (Recent reports have pointed out that for Scottish DRS to go ahead, it would require an opt-out from the UK Internal Market Act, which Lorna Slater, the Green minister leading the scheme, has not secured. Otherwise, as the Times put it, the scheme would be dead in the water as “the UK government signalled that it would block the ‘inflationary’ project”.)

     

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