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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
06 June 2023
UK ministers reject Humza Yousaf’s request for DRS glass reconsideration

Glass bottles in a pile for recycling | Alamy

UK ministers reject Humza Yousaf’s request for DRS glass reconsideration

UK ministers have rejected Humza Yousaf’s request to reconsider their decision to deny glass from the deposit return scheme (DRS).   

The first minister wrote to Rishi Sunak last week warning that if glass were to be omitted from the scheme it would be in “grave danger” and it would have a “significant impact” on business. Three UK ministers have replied to Yousaf’s letter informing him that they had offered the Scottish Government a “practical solution to proceed” with PET plastics and metal single-use drinks containers. 

Last week, the UK Government approved a partial exemption for DRS but rejected the involvement of glass.    

It is expected that the Scottish cabinet will make a decision today on the viability of DRS. Circularity Scotland, the scheme administrator has said it can still go ahead without glass.   

The launch date for Scotland’s DRS is March 2024, while a UK-wide scheme is planned to start in October 2025 and will not include glass.  

Writing on behalf of the prime minister, Alister Jack, Michael Gove, and Thérèse Coffey informed the first minister that they will not reconsider granting an exemption to glass from the Internal Market Act.   

The cabinet ministers wrote: “In your letter of June 2, you note that Scottish businesses may face a competitive disadvantage due to the exclusion of glass from the scheme.  

“Interoperability of schemes across the whole UK ensures all manufacturers, whether in Clydebank, Carlisle, Cardiff, or Carrickfergus, have the same access to sell their products across the UK internal market.  

“The exclusion of glass also ensures consumer choice is not restricted in Scotland, given the risk that differences in scope would have led to some producers choosing not to supply Scotland through online or physical sales.  

“As we have granted a UKIM exclusion, there is nothing to prevent you from proceeding with your own scheme next March, on the basis that it would form part of a UK-wide solution to protect our shared market and increase recycling from 2025.”  

Speaking at a meeting for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Yousaf said: “It’s extremely difficult because not only do you look at whether or not CSL (Circularity Scotland Ltd) are able to get the drawdown of funding, we have to look at what the impact is going to be on Scottish businesses, on their jobs, on their investment, on the price of their product.  

“That is all issues that we have to factor in.”  

He added: “We don’t know whether the UK-wide scheme is going to happen. However, the date of October 2025 is for the birds.  

“The government haven’t pushed ahead with the appropriate regulations, let alone the scheme provider.” 

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Read the most recent article written by Ruaraidh Gilmour - Scotland's circular economy: What goes around comes around.

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