Scotland publishes consultation on Deposit Return Scheme

29 JUNE 2018

Earlier this year, Michael Gove promised a Deposit Return System (DRS) would be implemented in England although no implementation date was suggested. It is expected that a consultation will be issued in the Autumn outlining potential options, but with the legislative and infrastructure changes required, it seems unlikely that any system will be applied in England until 2021 at the earliest with 2022 being a more realistic position.

Scotland has been considering such a system for a number of years now. Commonplace in much of Europe and around the world, DRS is seen by many as a way of increasing recycling rates and reducing litter. However, there are many different variations on a theme and the concept is not without its detractors. Local Authorities, for instance, fear that any scheme will simply see material plundered from their own recycling collections. And there are strong concerns about set up costs, health and safety for those having to take back potentially contaminated packaging and fraud.

The Scottish Government has now issued a consultation signalling a clear intent to be the first to introduce such a system into the UK. A comprehensive document, it explores different options for packaging types, deposit fees, funding models etc and offers four costed models to consider. But it needs strong coffee and a clear head to absorb and is not a document to try to read with an England World Cup match on in the background.

Whilst this is clearly focussed on a Scottish system, given the likelihood that DRS - in hopefully not too many forms - will be implemented throughout the UK in the next 5 years, even if you are not in Scotland, it is worth a read to start to see the complexities that will have to be considered for something that on the surface, might just seem like the re-introduction of the Corona bottle system of many years ago. For those of use old enough to remember that....

Responses are required by 25th September.