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Review to assess Covid-19 impact on bottle deposit scheme

By Alan Beresford

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AN independent gateway review to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the roll-out of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has been announced.

MSP Stewart Stevenson.
MSP Stewart Stevenson.

The DRS had been expected to launch in July next year and will make it easier for everyone to recycle their used bottles and cans.

Under the scheme, people pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

The news has been welcomed by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, who had called on the Scottish Government to outline what progress there has been in implementing it deposit return scheme.

In response, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment Ben Macpherson said the Scottish Government was aware of the “unique and significant pressures that Covid-19 and EU Exit have placed on industry over the past year.”

He said this included the businesses which would be responsible for implementing the scheme.

Mr Macpherson said: “Despite this, industry has made good progress towards implementing the scheme, including the recent establishment of Circularity Scotland Ltd as a not-for-profit industry body seeking to operate as a DRS scheme administrator.

"This is a significant step forward, which demonstrates the industry’s collective commitment to move ahead with the scheme.

“At the time that the DRS Regulations were passed, the Scottish Government committed to closely monitor the impact of the pandemic on implementation of DRS. Given the significant disruption caused to relevant sectors over the past year, we have decided to commission an independent gateway review to assess the impact of the pandemic on the go-live date for the scheme.”

Mr Stevenson said: “I welcome the Scottish Government’s review to assess the impact of the pandemic on the deposit return scheme.

“Despite Covid-19 and the impact it is had on all aspects of life, it is clear the government is determined to meet its target for the launch of the scheme next year.

“It is important we continue to look at ways we can reduce litter, protect our environment and tackle throwaway culture.”

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