deposit return scheme

UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme looking more likely for 2025

With Scotland’s plans for a deposit return scheme coming under more pressure, there is a growing expectation that a UK wide scheme will launch in 2025.

Scotland’s ‘go first’ DRS has been delayed several times in the face of practical and political delays. Under legislative rules since the UK left the European Union, Scotland needs approval for it to launch its own scheme from the UK government.

The UK government has now said that Scotland can go ahead with its own ‘go first’ scheme from 2024 as long it doesn’t include glass containers in the DRS system. Scotland is planning to include glass drinks bottles, whereas the UK government has excluded glass from its DRS plans.

The Scottish government has reacted angrily to the UK’s decision to only allow the scheme to go ahead without the inclusion of glass.

Over the coming weeks there is the potential for Scotland to mount a legal challenge against the UK government or for it to try and negotiate some compromise. However, the indications are that UK ministers will take a firm line and not give way.

With the Scottish scheme due to come into force in 2024 and the rest of the UK in 2025, it now looks increasing likely to many observers that a further delay to the Scottish scheme is likely and a UK-wide scheme beckons in 2025.

Questions remain about the organisation of the UK scheme with the UK government needing to set up a lot of infrastructure as well as an administrative body. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is in the process of shaping plans for a Deposit Management Organisation to run the UK scheme as well as decide on the level of the deposit. Scotland is proposing a 20p per bottle or can for its DRS scheme.

View our previous article on 'Scottish DRS Delayed [19/04/23]' and 'Coffey looks to uncork Scottish DRS plans [10/01/23]'.

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