Scottish DRS delayed due to coronavirus

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will not be introduced until July 2022 due to the impact of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government has moved swiftly to delay the ‘go-live’ date by 15 months from the planned date of April 2021 following consultation with stakeholders.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the delay would give businesses more time to prepare their premises for the scheme and provide flexibility as the whole country prepares to deal with the outbreak of Covid-19.

Campaigners, however, have expressed concern at the delay and urged the government to think again.

The campaign group Have You Got the Bottle, which is led by led by The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, tweeted: “If they stick to this schedule it will have taken 4 years, 9 months and 26 days from the First Minister's Sept 2017 announcement to the launch of a deposit system.”

On Monday, the government laid down final regulations as well as a series of impact assessments for the DRS which, despite the delay, is still set to be the first of its type operating in the UK.

The scheme requires consumers to return single-use containers and redeem a 20p deposit from any retailer selling drinks covered by the DRS.

It will include plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the most common type of bottle used for soft drinks, as well as aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles.

Businesses that sell drinks exclusively to be opened and consumed on-site, such as pubs and restaurants, will have the choice whether to charge the deposit to the public and will only be required to return the containers they sell on their own premises.

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