DRS rollout gathers further momentum

Leading packaging data services provider Ecoveritas today welcomed fresh guidance from the Scottish Government, which will significantly reduce the Deposit Return Scheme’s (DRS) cost for industry and consumers.

As a result of the latest guidance, thousands of smaller retailers will be able to opt out of the UK’s first DRS. Other new features to support retailers include a new return point mapping and exemption support service, as well as confirmation that the size of premises will be considered when determining the risk of breaching obligations relating to environmental health. The evidence and assessment processes for specialist, food service and hospitality retailers will also be streamlined.

This makes applying for an exemption from DRS regulations much less complex, with additional support for already under-pressure retailers.

“This latest guidance is a triumph for common sense and another step towards a workable solution,” said Andrew McCaffery, Global EPR Director. “Droves of smaller retail outlets will likely be breathing a sigh of relief, thanks to a much simpler process of applying for exemptions and a significant reduction in the operational burden of the scheme. We must avoid unnecessary, further hardship for lower-income families.

“There are still challenges to overcome, such as mapping a satisfactory, accessible and inclusive network of return points while maintaining an environmentally efficient scheme and the feasibility of online takeback. This is something that the UK, Welsh, and Northern Ireland governments will be keen to observe.

“There are welcome clarifications for environmental health exemptions, particularly concerning the footprint of premises, and much more manageable processes outlined for the specialist, food service and hospitality retailers. The considerable cost and lack of readiness will have played their part, but the Scottish Government is determined to get this right, so they are to be applauded.”

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme is set to go live on August 16, 2023, following several delays, and it is hoped this latest guidance is another significant step towards delivering a scheme that will transform how people recycle in Scotland.

The Scottish Government aims to achieve a 90% collection rate for materials in scope by 2025, contributing to preserving the environment for future generations.

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