Soft drinks industry seeking compensation for Scottish DRS delay


Soft drinks

The British Soft Drinks Association has confirmed it’s seeking compensation from the Scottish government following the delay to Scotland’s deposit return scheme.

The trade association which represents many major soft drinks companies wants compensation for the money its members spent preparing for Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS). The British Soft Drinks Association’s (BSDA) members include Coco-Cola, A.G. Barr which produces Irn-Bru, and Innocent Drinks.

The launch of Scotland’s DRS has been delayed until “at least” October 2025. Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater told Parliament the announcement comes after the UK government declined a request for full exclusion from the Internal Market Act.

Last week (29 May), the UK government set out that aspects of the scheme were required to align with schemes across the UK.

The Scottish cabinet met on Tuesday (6 June) to decide whether the scheme will proceed following a letter sent to the UK Prime Minister by Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf which stated removing glass from the scheme put the future of DRS in “grave danger” in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

However, the scheme’s administrator Circularity Scotland insisted the groundwork was in place for the scheme to still go live as planned on 1 March 2024 without glass.

When approached for comment by Circular Online, the BSDA confirmed it will be seeking compensation.

In response to the delay, BSDA Director General, Gavin Partington, said: “We welcome the decision to delay DRS Scotland to align with DRS across the rest of the UK in October 2025.

“BSDA members have long supported the introduction of an industry-led, interoperable DRS run on a not-for-profit basis to help support a circular economy, reducing litter and increasing recycling and they have made significant investments of money, resource and time over the last few years to help get DRS off the ground.

“We now urge the UK government to publish a blueprint for how it intends to achieve an October 2025 start date, particularly regarding how it intends to fulfil the conditions set out in its letter to the Scottish government. BSDA members remain committed to working with the UK government and devolved governments to help ensure DRS can be delivered effectively and efficiently for consumers and businesses alike.”

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