Scottish on-trade welcomes DRS delay

The Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland will be delayed by a year.

Organisations from across the Scottish on-trade have welcomed the announcement that the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will be delayed by a year.

The announcement was made by Scotland’s new first minister Humza Yousaf MSP in his first major speech since being elected. Scotland’s DRS will now go live for consumers on 1 March 2024.

The aim of the DRS is to give retailers a positive role in tackling climate change. Creators have said they expect it to cut littering by a third, reducing the amount spent by local authorities on clearing litter, and increasing recycling rates of single-use drinks containers from the current rate of approximately 50% towards 90%.

Under the scheme, retailers that sell drinks, including pubs and bars, will have a legal requirement to accept returns of empty drinks containers for recycling. 

Needs revision

Many believe that the scheme as originally drafted would be damaging to small brewers, pubs and other small drinks producers, burdening them with new costs.

The Campaign for Pubs is just one organisation that has written to the first minister, urging a delay to revise the scheme so it wouldn’t damage Scotland’s craft brewing scene and pubs, the latter potentially having to act as a DRS link between the public and producers. 

"It’s excellent news and a huge relief to Scotland’s small breweries and small drinks producers and to Scottish pubs that the flawed Deposit Return Scheme has been delayed for a year," says Morag Douglas, Scottish spokesperson for the Campaign for Pubs and licensee of The Star, Burntisland. "We thank the first minister Humza Yousaf for listening and doing the right thing.

“Scotland’s small breweries, independent producers and pubs have long been champions of recycling and want to work with the Scottish government to agree a scheme that helps the environment without favouring huge corporations over small producers and operators, which the currently drafted scheme would have done. We will continue to press for a scheme that will deliver the objectives in a more sustainable, sensible way and doesn’t threaten the diversity of the drinks offer in Scotland."   

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