Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme has been delayed once again and will be rolled out from 1 March 2024.
The scheme will see consumers pay a deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container; they will get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.
It was originally intended to go live in July 2022, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new start date was expected to be in August, but after backlash from some small brewers and distillers who fear extra costs, it has been postponed for a second time.
England’s deposit return scheme is also expected to start in 2024.
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“We recognise the uncertainty that continues to be created as a result of the UK government delaying the decision to exclude the scheme from the Internal Market Act,” First Minister Humza Yousaf told the BBC.
“We had hoped for that decision this week but it has not come,” he continued.
Yousaf also asserted that the new start date will allow more time to work with businesses to address concerns about the scheme.
The scheme will see some smaller retailers accept returns over the counter while larger retailers will operate reverse vending machines.
Drinks that come in PET plastic (such as most bottled water and energy drinks), steel and aluminium (fizzy drinks and beer) and glass (wine and some soft drinks) will all be included in the scheme.
According to the NGO Zero Waste Scotland only half of eligible containers are currently recycled, the scheme hopes to increase this to 90%.
Similar schemes have long taken place in countries such as Norway, and in Germany where it is easy to find pfandesammler (deposit collectors) the return rate for non-reusable bottles is well above 90%.