DRS scheme delayed until October 2025

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until at least October 2025.

The launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until at least October 2025, bringing relief to the country's pubs and bars.

Originally due for introduction in March 2024, the Scottish government has said the delay is a consequence of the UK government’s refusal to agree a full exclusion from the Internal Market Act.

Last week, the UK government imposed a number of conditions on the scheme, including the removal of glass and the requirement to align aspects of the scheme with schemes across the UK – none of which exist at the moment or have regulations in place.

Following consultations with key businesses, ministers have concluded that certainty on critical elements of the scheme cannot be provided to businesses until the UK government publishes more detail.

Sigh of relief

"Hospitality businesses across Scotland will be breathing a huge sigh of relief hearing this news," says UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson. "The Deposit Return Scheme, 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."

Thompson stresses that businesses are not against a recycling scheme. Hospitality already has one of the best recycling records in the economy and he believes the industry can do even more. 

"But a Deposit Return Scheme needs to work for businesses," he says. "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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