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DRS delayed until October 2025

The Scottish government has delayed its deposit return scheme (DRS) until October 2025 ‘at the earliest’, after it was ‘sabotaged’ by the UK government.

The Scottish DRS will now launch alongside a UK-wide scheme in late 2025

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater confirmed the delay of the ‘controversial’ DRS in a statement to the Scottish government today (7 June), claiming that it had been ‘sabotaged’ by the UK government after it imposed a number of conditions.

These include the removal of glass from the scheme, which was announced last month.

“As of today, it is now clear that we have been left with no other option than to delay the launch of Scotland’s DRS until October 2025 at the earliest, based on the UK government’s current stated aspirations,” she said.

“I remain committed to interoperable DRS schemes across the UK provided that we can work in a spirit of collaboration not imposition. I wrote again last night to the UK government, to urge ministers to reset a climate of trust and good faith to galvanise and retain the knowledge that has been built in Circularity Scotland and DRS partners in Scotland.

“This parliament voted for a deposit return scheme. I am committed to a deposit return scheme. Scotland will have a deposit return scheme. It will come later than need be. It will be more limited than it should be. More limited than parliament voted for.

“These delays and dilutions lie squarely in the hands of UK government that has sadly seemed so far more intent on sabotaging this parliament than protecting our environment.”

First minister Humza Yousaf said: “Today’s decision to delay Scotland’s deposit return scheme to align with a UK scheme is a direct result of the UK government’s deliberate efforts to undermine devolution. Be in no doubt, UK government has sought to deliberately sabotage DRS to override the will of the Scottish parliament.”

He continued: “Earlier today I met with more than 80 producers, retailers, and hospitality representatives, with the overwhelming view being expressed that due to UK government interference, a Scottish scheme going ahead without glass would put some businesses at an unacceptable competitive disadvantage.

“Today is yet another dark day for devolution, where once again our Scottish parliament has been undermined by the actions of a Tory Westminster government. Further evidence that the only way we can protect Scotland’s democracy and have true self-government is through independence.”

Support for delay

However, Maurice Golden, Conservative member of Scottish parliament (MSP), said the “disastrous scheme” had failed long before any intervention from the UK government, and accused Yousaf of “reckless scaremongering”.

UK Hospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson agreed: “The DRS, even before recent UK government interventions, was not ready to launch in March and businesses had made that clear to the Scottish government. Evidently, those interventions have made the prospect of launch impossible.

“This is the third delay to the scheme and it is imperative that there is now a joined up approach from all governments. It’s crucial that there is maximum alignment and interoperability across all schemes, to make things as simple as possible for businesses.

“Businesses are not against a recycling scheme – far from it. Hospitality already has one of the best recycling records in the economy and we can do even more, but a DRS needs to work for businesses. It cannot be yet another piece of red-tape that is costly and burdensome.

“It’s time for work to begin on a scheme that can genuinely achieve the environmental and sustainability ambitions we all have, with true engagement with business.”

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