Deposit Return

Scottish scheme delayed until October 2025 at the earliest

The launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will be delayed until at least October 2025 as a consequence of the UK Government’s refusal to agree a full exclusion from the Internal Market Act, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater has told Parliament.

Last week the UK Government imposed a number of highly significant conditions on the scheme, including the removal of glass and the requirement to align aspects of the scheme with schemes across the UK – none of which exist at the moment or have regulations in place.

Following consultations with key businesses including producers, Ministers have concluded that certainty on critical elements of the scheme cannot be provided to businesses until the UK Government publishes more detail and therefore Scotland’s deposit return scheme will not go live until October 2025 at the earliest.

Addressing Parliament, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:

“As of today, it is now clear that we have been left with no other option than to delay the launch of Scotland’s DRS, until October 2025 at the earliest based on the UK Government’s current stated aspirations.

“I remain committed to interoperable DRS schemes across the UK provided that we can work in a spirit of collaboration not imposition.  I wrote again last night to the UK Government, to urge ministers to reset a climate of trust and good faith to galvanise and retain the knowledge that has been built in Circularity Scotland and DRS partners in Scotland.

“This Parliament voted for a Deposit Return Scheme. I am committed to a Deposit Return Scheme. Scotland will have a Deposit Return Scheme. It will come later than need be. It will be more limited than it should be. More limited than Parliament voted for.

“These delays and dilutions lie squarely in the hands of UK Government that has sadly seemed so far more intent on sabotaging this parliament than protecting our environment.”


The Scottish Parliament legislated to create a deposit return scheme including glass in May 2020. The Internal Market Act was passed in December 2020.

Of the 51 territories and countries operating deposit return schemes, 45 include glass.

Following correspondence from the First Minister to the Prime Minister, the UK Government confirmed on 5 June it would not reconsider the conditions attached to the Internal Market Act exclusion.

The First Minister and Circular Economy Minister met with businesses on 7 June to discuss the implications of the UK Government’s decision.

The conditions for an exclusion include a maximum cap on deposit levels agreed across all nations, one administration fee to cover all schemes across the UK, one barcode for use across all parts of the UK and one logo for all schemes.


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