Scottish parliament approves DRS regulations

Reverse vending machine in store
An example of a reverse vending machine

THE Scottish parliament has voted in favour of the regulations for a deposit return scheme (DRS).

The vote means that, from 1 July 2022, all drinks sold in PET plastic, aluminium cans and glass containers from 50ml to 3L  will be accompanied with a 20p deposit which will be refunded once the empty container is returned to a collection point.

Previously scheduled for 1 April 2021, the start date for the scheme was pushed back to allow companies time to recover following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The day before the vote, British Glass revealed details of research it had commissioned showing that 61% of householders believe legislation should be delayed or paused considering the current pandemic.

Dave Dalton, British Glass CEO said, “We believe strongly the Scottish Government should pause the regulations until the full impact of Covid-19 and its consequences on the drinks supply chain and local authorities are able to be evaluated. Now is not the time to push this through as we see huge shifts in the volumes of household recycling, as well as the lack of material available from the hospitality sector and pressures on local authority recycling services.”

Colin Smith, the Scottish Wholesale Association chief executive said, “This is meant to be an evidence-based policy but the evidence on which it is built – container numbers, return points, queueing spaces, online food shopping – will have fundamentally changed as business exits Covid-19. Wholesalers and others in food and drink are already under intense pressure with some businesses fighting for their very survival – there will be no time or money to spend trying to assist the Scottish government or a still-to-be formed Scheme Administrator to set up the DRS.”

In April of 2020, Alupro raised their concerns over the then proposed, but now confirmed, flat 20p deposit across all drinks containers. Rick Hindley, executive director of the organisation, said, “A flat deposit fee plays no part in a successful scheme and would result in a number of hugely negative implications.”