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    Scottish Deposit Return Scheme delayed until March 2024

    (Photo: RLG)

    Today (18th April) Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP announced that there will be a delay to the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), as part of a speech on his priorities for government over the next three years.

    The Scottish Deposit Return Scheme was due to go live on 16th August but will now be delayed until 1st March 2024. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced plans for a Deposit Return Scheme, coming into force in 2025.

    “We are disappointed that we’ve not been able to meet the timetable for DRS in Scotland, but local shops will welcome the additional time to ensure that the scheme can run as smoothly as possible when it is introduced next March,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “Despite the delay, there will still be a 19-month period where the scheme will be operating in Scotland but not in the rest of the UK and this will cause issues, particularly for wholesalers and smaller suppliers.

    “It is important to remember that businesses at all levels of the supply chain will need to commit to tackling the significant operational challenges that the introduction of DRS will present, in order for it to work effectively for businesses and consumers. This is still a tight timetable but we will continue to engage with the Scottish Government and support retailers with the implementation of this scheme.”

    The First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government will be working with businesses and Circularity Scotland to ensure that the scheme is ready for March 2024.

    In addition to the announcement on DRS, the First Minister also confirmed that the Scottish Government will be taking a fresh look at the proposals in the alcohol advertising consultation, working with industry and public health representatives during this process.

    The full announcement is available here.

    Meanwhile, The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) welcomed today’s announcement but is calling for retailers who have already signed contracts for reverse vending machines (RVMs) to be compensated for any delay.

    The Fed has supported the DRS from the outset but has concerns over a lack of information from the Scottish government on how the scheme will work and fears over increased costs to smaller retailers acting as return points.

    Scottish Deposit Return Scheme delayed until March 2024
    Mo Razzaq

    Glasgow store owner and deputy vice president of the Fed, Mo Razzaq, was due to meet Lorna Slater, Scotland’s minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, today to express the Fed’s concerns over DRS.

    Mr Razzaq said: “It makes sense to delay the launch because communication from the Scottish government has been poor and it will help retailers due to all the mixed messages we have been getting.

    “We still have a lot of unanswered questions and we will be demanding compensation for those retailers that have already entered into expensive contracts for the RVMs required to operate the scheme.

    “Many of our members have spent large sums of money buying RVMs and altering the layout of their stores to be prepared for the launch of the scheme in August.

    “We will also continue to push the government for grants to help pay for the machines. The Irish government has said it will help smaller retailers in this way, and we urge the Scottish government to follow Ireland’s lead.”

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