Scotland publishes DRS draft regulations consultation


The Scottish Government has been considering a Deposit Return Scheme for some time and has previously consulted at length on their proposals. They have now published a consultation that contains the detail including draft regulations and I would strongly urge anyone supplying drinks in PET plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans or glass bottles into Scotland to read and respond. The new system is set to start on 1 April 2021 and consultation responses are required by 19th December 2019.

In VERY basic terms, the system will work as follows:

  • Producers - drinks manufacturers/brand owners and importers - will be required register with SEPA (either direct or through administrative schemes), report all sales of drinks into Scotland in the qualifying packaging by quantity by April each year and to charge a 20p deposit on qualifying containers that will be passed on to consumers by retailers. They will also have to meet collection targets related to their brand - 70% of the quantity of containers sold in 2022, 80% in 2023 and 90% in 2024.
  • Retailers will be required to provide return points for any qualifying items they sell and must pay the 20p back to the returner to be reimbursed by the producers. It seems that producers will only be responsible for reimbursing deposits on sales items they placed onto the Scottish market (rather than paying into a central clearing house to manage reimbursement) which will be an interesting administrative challenge if true.
  • Set up costs for producers will be covered by un-redeemed deposits whilst retailers can claim a 'reasonable handling fee' from producers on top of the reimbursed deposits.

At this stage, it is unknown whether this will have any impact on producer and retailer packaging regulations obligations but given the lack of any reference to the packaging regulations, it would seem that the two will run in parallel with packaging obligations unchanged.