The implementation date for Scotland’s deposit return scheme has been delayed by more than a year, as the Scottish government anticipates the effects of coronavirus on businesses.
The scheme, which was due to come into force in April 2021, will now not go live until July 2022 it was announced this week.
Under the scheme, a 20p deposit will be applied to every sale of single-use drinks containers made of either PET plastic, steel, aluminium or glass.
Retailers who sell products which fall under the scheme must operate container return points such as reverse vending machines at their premises, at which consumers can be reimbursed the 20p fee.
Similarly, the scheme requires producers to collect “a target percentage” of the single-use drinks containers that they put on the market in a calendar year.
The Scottish government’s Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said that the delay would give businesses time to put the necessary preparations in place.
As cited by the BBC, Cunningham said: “Having listened to the views of stakeholders, I have agreed to extend the ‘go-live’ date from April 2021 to July 2022.
“This will give businesses more time to prepare their premises for the scheme and crucially, provides flexibility in the immediate term as the whole country prepares to deal with Covid-19 – the impact of which continues to be closely monitored.
“One very important way of achieving our climate targets is in tackling throw-away culture and building a circular economy where our resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and our deposit return scheme is just one part of this.”
John Mayhew, the director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, is also reported to have expressed disappointment at the delay.
“We were concerned enough last year when ministers proposed to delay Scotland’s deposit return system until April 2021, more than a decade after the Climate Change Act was passed”, he said.
“Today they are trying to delay it a further 15 months to July 2022, which would mean almost five years will have passed between the first minister’s announcement and the system launching – and worse, the targets wouldn’t even start until 2023.”
According to the latest figures on the Scottish government website, Scotland has 227 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
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