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UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme ‘essential’ for success

In the latest Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) developments, the UK Government has agreed to grant the Scottish Government a temporary exclusion to the UK Internal Market Act to enable Scotland’s DRS to launch next year.

What's changed?

While this allows the scheme to start on 1 March 2024, ahead of scheme planned for the rest of the UK, there are several critical business and consumer changes that the UK Government has asked for:

  1. 1

    Temporary exclusion

    This will cover the period from the launch of the Scottish Government DRS until planned schemes are in place in the rest of the UK.

  2. 2


    The exclusion will apply to PET plastic, aluminium and steel cans only. It will not include glass.

  3. 3

    Interoperable schemes

    Once the schemes are live across the UK, there will need to be maximum alignment and interoperability as a safeguard for businesses and consumers.

What's the response from the Scottish Government?

The Scottish Government has not yet issued a formal statement or reply advising on how it intends to proceed. Lorna Slater, the minister responsible for DRS, told the Scottish parliament she would return to advise on next steps as soon as possible. A key consideration is whether removing glass leaves a financially viable schemes.

Our reaction

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson

UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said: “We have maintained throughout this process that a UK-wide scheme is essential to make the Deposit Return Scheme a success, particularly for businesses.

“Reaching this point, however, is once again indicative of the delays and uncertainty that have become synonymous with the Deposit Return Scheme.

“Hospitality businesses have sunk millions into preparing for a scheme and will likely have to spend more once again to meet new requirements. For the sake of businesses, I hope we get a decision and clarity as soon as possible.”

We’re continuing to engage with the Scottish Government, highlighting the urgent need for clarity for our members.