Scottish Government: Deposit Return Scheme Delayed Until October 2025

As a result of the UK Government's conditions for granting a temporary exemption of the Scheme in accordance with the UK Internal Market Act.
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The Scottish Government has announced that the launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until at least October 2025.

This comes as a consequence of the UK Government’s terms for allowing a temporary exemption of the Scheme under the UK Internal Market Act. 

The UK Government announced a number of highly significant conditions for the exemption which at the time aimed to cover the period from the launch of the Scottish Government DRS until planned schemes were in place across the rest of the UK. So there would have been maximum alignment and interoperability as a safeguard for businesses and consumers.

This included the following:

  • The temporary exclusion covered PET plastic, aluminium, and steel cans only and not glass. A condition of this exclusion was that a maximum cap on deposit levels would have had to be agreed with the rest of the UK before the Scottish scheme launched, to ensure maximum interoperability and ease of use for consumers. 
  • The minimum size would have be increased from 50ml to 100ml, removing miniatures and other smaller containers from the scheme.
  • Products that sold fewer than 5,000 units per year would have no longer been able to carry a deposit. This would have applied to many craft drinks, specialist wines and spirits, and limited edition products.

Scotlands Government Delay Scheme Amidst Uncertainty of Glass 

Whilst Circularity Scotland's program director, Donald McCalman told the BBC that the scheme could have still gone ahead without glass, the Scottish government cautioned that they did not see the scheme going ahead without glass being included. 

The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, wrote to the Prime Minister to urge him to rethink the rejection of glass in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). The UK Government confirmed that it would not have reconsidered the conditions attached to the Internal Market Act exclusion. 

Therefore, following consultations with key businesses including producers, Scottish Ministers concluded that certainty on critical elements of the scheme could not be provided to businesses until the UK Government publishes more detail, and therefore Scotland’s deposit return scheme will not go live until October 2025 at the earliest