August 19, 2022 Industry news
Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS), the first of the four schemes planned for each UK nation to launch, will play an important role in Scotland’s journey towards a more sustainable economy. Estimates by Zero Waste Scotland, a not-for-profit environmental organisation that is supporting implementation, suggest that it will reduce carbon emissions by an average of nearly 160,000 tonnes a year - the equivalent of 109,000 return flights from Edinburgh to New York.
How will it work?
Scotland’s scheme will see consumers charged a 20p deposit on any drink packaged in a single-use container made from PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium sized between 50ml and 3 litres.
This business-led approach is common among many of the most successful schemes already operating in European countries such as Denmark, Finland, and The Netherlands.
Infrastructure for the scheme is now being rolled out across Scotland, and businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to act now to make sure they are ready for when the scheme launches this time next year.
This scheme is being delivered by industry for industry. By putting businesses in charge, we are making sure that it works for them. With one year to go until the scheme goes live for consumers, I would encourage all businesses and organisations that produce, ship or sell drinks to get involved with the scheme now.”
Circular economy minister and co-leader of the Scottish Greens
Businesses can register with Circularity Scotland to make sure they receive information that will help them prepare.
The schemes’ regulator, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), has also launched a campaign that will help businesses understand their legal responsibilities and the steps they need to take over the next 12 months.
Supporting successful implementaion
Research conducted by GS1 UK found that over half of Scots still don't know what a deposit return scheme is and the final rules and regulations for England, Wales and Northern Ireland are still to be confirmed.
Dealing with legislative changes that are implemented differently in one country before another presents a major challenge for UK businesses. Without common, global standards across the UK, DRS could pose significant logistical problems for manufacturers and, consequently, consumers, who could experience higher prices and reduced choice.
In the context of DRS, standards offer administrators and businesses a consistent way to identify, label and categorise packaging attributes. This ensures information can be exchanged in a manner that is simple, transparent and reduces variation – even across borders.
By ensuring that processes are simple and harmonised, standards have the power to significantly increase operational efficiency, drive scheme participation and could potentially save both industry and taxpayers millions.
DRS: are consumers and industry ready?
Our new DRS campaign explores awareness, attitudes and the challenges facing successful implementation.
DRS: when will it arrive and what will it look like?
Find out why DRS could be a game changer for UK waste management.