Update on Scottish DRS

Circulatory Scotland hosted a two-day conference in Glasgow to outline the current ‘state of play’ for the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme and to discuss the steps participants need to take before implementation 16 August 2023.

David Llewellyn, chief executive of the AVA was in attendance, here are his key takeaways:

  • The DRS will require consumers to pay a 20p deposit when they buy a glass bottle, can or PET plastic container. The money is then reimbursed when the empty containers are returned to a nominated return point.
  • All drinks, including soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, are included in the scheme, if they come in the following materials:
    • PET plastic – e.g., most bottled water and many fizzy drinks
    • Steel and aluminium – e.g., fizzy drinks and canned beer
    • Glass – e.g., bottles of wine or premium soft drinks
    • All Containers between 50ml and 3 litres in size are included.
  • The original plan for c38,000 return points has been reduced to around 20,000. With just under 4,000 of these being Reverse Vending Machines.
The scheme is an essential part of increasing the amount of recycled material available. It is complex and will require a great deal of work before implementation – but it will happen in August next year. Suppliers and operators must be ready to work with a system which is likely to provide the model for the rest of the UK.
How could the Scottish DRS impact vending & automated retail?Following lobbying from the AVA, any site where vending is the only retail source of product, will be exempt from offering a deposit return mechanism to consumers. Even so, there are actions which members must take.
As a business in Scotland, if you import or manufacture ‘scheme articles’ which are sold anywhere in Scotland, you must register as a ‘producer’ before 28th February 2023.If you Operate in Scotland, you must ensure that you have documentary proof any products you buy and sell are registered products. If they are not, you could be liable to criminal prosecution.The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for policing and enforcement of the scheme (with Police Scotland). Further details can be found HEREAt present, ‘retail outlets’ that are smaller than 100m2 do not have to offer a return service however this exemption must be applied for – BUT this currently includes micro-markets!

In order to get the best deal for members, the AVA is in currently in discussion with Zero Waste Scotland about the possibility of a blanket exemption for unattended retail and micro-markets. We will issue an update in due course. In the meantime, the exemption should be applied for HERE