Circular Economy Minister announces new Scottish DRS changes


Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater has announced a range of measures aimed at making it easier for drinks producers and retailers to prepare for the Scottish deposit return scheme (DRS).

The changes Slater announced were drinks containers under 100ml will be excluded, removing miniatures and other smaller containers from the scheme.

Products that sell fewer than 5,000 units per year will be excluded, which the Scottish government says will benefit craft producers. All hospitality premises that sell the large majority of their drinks products for consumption on the premises will be exempt from acting as a return point.

Finally, Slater said the online application process for retailers to apply for an exemption from providing a return point has been “simplified”.

In his first key Holyrood speech, First Minister (FM) Humza Yousaf announced the controversial Scottish deposit return scheme has been delayed until 1 March 2024. Yousaf said that the UK government delaying the decision to exclude the scheme from the Internal Market Act has caused uncertainty.

The FM also said he, and the Circular Economy Minister, had heard the concerns of business, particularly about the scheme’s readiness for launch this August.

To move forward with certainty, the UK government must stop delaying the long overdue exclusion from the Internal Market Act.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater, said: “Scotland’s DRS will reduce litter on our streets, massively increase the recycling of drinks containers and help meet our net zero ambitions.

“However, to realise these benefits DRS needs to be delivered in a way that works for businesses, especially for small drinks producers. The changes I have set out will make the scheme easier for industry to deliver – especially for craft producers – while still making sure the vast majority of drinks containers are captured for recycling.

“To move forward with certainty, the UK government must stop delaying the long overdue exclusion from the Internal Market Act. This damaging Act was imposed on the Scottish Parliament after Brexit without its consent and creates confusion and uncertainty for businesses.”

The changes to Scotland’s DRS are subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament. The current DRS regulations include all drinks from 50ml to 3 litres and place no lower limit on the volume of sales to qualify for the scheme.

The Scottish government says it anticipates that the changes will only remove around 0.5% of articles from the scheme but will also remove the need for around 44% of businesses to apply a deposit to their products.

Drink producers will have until 12 January 2024 to register for the scheme.

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