The Scottish Government has today (Wednesday 13th May) passed revised regulations on the Deposit Return Scheme, which will mean it will not be operational until July 2022, 15 months after it was due to begin.

The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020 were voted through with 36 votes in favour, 16 against and 19 abstentions.

Scottish Government plans for new legislation intending to create a Circular Economy – where products are designed to last as long as possible, are easy to repair and made out of materials that can be recycled over and over – were also paused indefinitely on 1st April 2020.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Plastic and Circular Economy Campaigner Sarah Moyes commented:

“While we understand that we are facing an unprecedented situation right now, the political decision to delay the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme was taken prior to the beginning of the restrictions arising in relation to COVID-19.

“This 15 month delay risks not only an increase in plastic pollution in Scotland, but since the Deposit Return Scheme is an crucial step towards reducing our climate emissions, it will make it more difficult to meet the Government’s 2030 target of reducing emissions by 75%.

“Plastic pollution is an environmental emergency which risks getting worse due to coronavirus with a resurgence in single-use plastics. It is vital that as we come out of this pandemic, we take strong political action to prevent us from reversing the positive long-term gains we have already secured in the battle against plastic pollution.”


Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government confirms that the delay to DRS was decided before COVID 19 – https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Environment/General%20Documents/ECCLR_2020.04.01_DRS_IN_CS_response_to_questons__.pdf

The Scottish Government announced on 1st April 2020 that the Circular Economy Bill would not be progressed any further as there was insufficient time to introduce all the primary legislation during this parliamentary session. The Bill was previously expected to be brought forward in spring after being announced in the 2019-20 Programme for Government.  https://foe.scot/press-release/coronavirus-delay-to-scottish-government-climate-change-plan-understandable/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.