You are currently viewing DRS ‘viable’ and will launch as planned, says Circular Economy minister

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater has reaffirmed that Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will launch on 16 August as planned.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament yesterday (1 March), the day after the deadline for producers to register for the scheme, Slater said: “The volume of materials and the significant number of producers that have signed up means that we now have a viable scheme with momentum to August 16 because those businesses have committed and signed on the dotted line.

Earlier in the day, DRS administrator Circularity Scotland confirmed that businesses responsible for more than 2bn recyclable drinks containers had signed up, representing 26,000 SKUs and more than 95% of the total volume of products sold in Scotland each year.

Circularity Scotland boss David Harris said the numbers were a “fantastic start and a real landmark for the Deposit Return Scheme”.

However, Parliament heard that fewer than 20% of producers have registered, but this figure was not confirmed by Slater.

SEPA, the scheme’s regulator, has confirmed registration will remain open to enable all producers to sign up in time for the scheme’s August launch.

Slater added: “For those businesses that have not yet signed, we will continue to work with them to bring them online because we do want all small producers to participate in this scheme.”

It has been reported that the UK Government was set to block DRS because it would contravene the UK’s post-Brexit Internal Markets Act, but Slater told Parliament that a formal request for an Internal Markets Act exemption was made in 2021 by the Scottish Government and this is being worked through.

This contradicts a Scottish Sun report, which said the UK Government had confirmed that no such request was lodged.