Scottish retailers urged to begin preparing for DRS

Circularity Scotland (CSL) has called on producers, retailers and hospitality venues across Scotland to begin preparing for the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), due to go live a year on 16 August 2023.

Scotland’s DRS, the first in the UK, has the goal to ensure that 90% of drinks containers are recycled and aims to drive the country’s move to a circular economy. Every business that makes or sells drinks in single-use glass or plastic bottles or cans will be impacted by the scheme. Formal registration for the scheme will open in December and those who will operate return points across Scotland are being encouraged to sign up to the Circularity Scotland website now to receive all the information they will need to help them prepare.

“Of course, there is plenty more to do before August 16th, 2023, and we know that both drinks producers and those who will act as return point operators will need to make changes to how they operate,” said David Harris, CSL’s chief executive.

“We’re here to support them in their preparations and would encourage them to sign up with us now to access all the information they need. We know that by working together we can make a huge difference in tackling climate change and support the growth of the circular economy in Scotland.”

In recent months CSL has secured £18m in commercial loans to support the set-up phase of the scheme; in July, it appointed sustainable waste management firm Biffa as the official logistics service provider, with responsibility for collecting and processing the recycling of the billions of drinks containers purchased by Scottish consumers each year. The move is expected to create 500 jobs in Scotland.

Estimates by Zero Waste Scotland suggest that the scheme will reduce emissions by an average of nearly 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – the equivalent of 109,000 return flights from Edinburgh to New York. The 20p deposit also aims to provide an incentive to reduce littering, helping to cut the number of bottles and cans discarded in streets and green spaces.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said: “Scotland is leading the way in the UK on delivering a circular economy. By putting in place a deposit return scheme, we are delivering on the public’s desire to see action on plastic and other waste, and making an important contribution to the response to the climate emergency.

“This scheme is being delivered by the industry for the industry. By putting businesses in charge, we are making sure that it works for them. With one year to go until the scheme goes live for consumers, I would encourage all businesses and organisations that produce, ship or sell drinks to get involved with the scheme now.”

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