Scottish Parliament passes DRS regulations

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plastic bottles
REUTERS/Feline Lim/File Photo

Scottish Parliament has passed deposit return scheme (DRS) regulations on 13 may.

The scheme proposes a 20p deposit on single-use drinks containers, and materials will include PET plastic, steel, aluminium and glass.

The scheme will take effect on 1 July 2022, after the Scottish Government has in March delayed the introduction by over a year. The scheme was scheduled to go live in April 2021.

The regulations include a new exemption for return points on retail premises where it is not possible or reasonable to operate the return point without significant risk that the retailer would be in breach of legal requirements such as food safety, health and safety, and fire safety as a consequence.

The government has earlier allowed exemptions for small retailers from taking back drinks packaging, if the operator of an alternative return point ‘located with reasonable proximity to the premises’ agrees to accept the returned items on behalf of the retailer.

Trade bodies have welcomed the decision to amend the regulations to include the new exemption.

“We’re pleased that the Scottish Government has taken the concerns of local shops into consideration with regards to the regulations for implementing a scheme,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores.

“This is only the beginning of a long and complex journey, and we are committed to working with the Scottish Government and the scheme administrator to deliver a workable scheme.”

Stuart Reddish, national president of the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN), said: “With the passing of the regulations by the Scottish Parliament it is now important that progress is made in delivering a robust scheme that works for retailers and customers alike”

Pete Cheema, SGF chief executive, added: “We are now moving into the next phase of DRS and the response from industry will be crucial.

“We remain concerned about the impact of the current COVID crisis on businesses and their ability to plan for and invest in the scheme. However, we look forward to working with the scheme administrator once it is formed and indeed would welcome the opportunity to be part of it.”