Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers will go ahead as planned, but with sharply reduced fees for producers.
There will also be a more lenient approach to businesses that cannot be ready for the scheme’s 16 August 2023 start date, and most retailers will be exempt from the requirement to take back packaging from goods bought online.
These changes were announced by circular economy minister Lorna Slater in a letter to MSPs.
Circularity Scotland had also reviewed the timing of cash flows to it from producers, whose costs had been reduced at the point the scheme goes live.
Slater said producer fees will now be 8%, 30% and 40% lower for glass, PET plastic and metal containers, respectively. Day 1 payments for producers using UK-wide barcodes will also be reduced from 2.4 months’-worth of fees to three weeks.
Industry fears about the cost of take-back for containers from online purchases have led to a change “so that initially only the largest grocery supermarkets will be obliged to provide a take-back service and all other businesses will be exempt”, Slater said.
Even for supermarkets, this will be phased in and a date for takeback to be available to the general public will be set in 2025.