SWA welcomes improvements to deposit return scheme

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has welcomed the improvements to the deposit return scheme (DRS) announced by Lorna Slater, the Scottish Government minister responsible for the scheme.

Colin Smith: ‘SWA are delighted that many of the improvements we have lobbied for over many years were announced.’

The revised measures include:

  • Low sales volumes products will be excluded from DRS – this applies to any product with sales of less than 5,000 units per year. No deposit will be required, but it seems as though businesses will still have to register with SEPA. This measure takes only about 0.5% of articles from the scheme but removes about 44% of businesses from the scheme. It could help a larger producer with a niche product or limited edition as well as a small producer or importer selling only low volume products. More detail on this is to follow.
  • All containers under 100ml will be excluded from the scheme. This represents 0.2% of articles from the scheme. This includes spirits miniatures and all material types.
  • All hospitality premises that sell the majority of products to be consumed on site (but not exclusively) will be exempt from acting as return points. Further detail on thresholds have still to be confirmed.
  • Simplification of the Circularity Scotland online process for retailers to be exempt from being a return point operator (RPO).
  • Simplification of the Producer Agreement – Circularity Scotland will create a short form to remove complexity and size of current document for smaller producers.
  • Drinks producers will have until 12 January 2024 to register for the scheme.

SWA chief executive Colin Smith commented: “SWA are delighted that many of the improvements we have lobbied for over many years were announced in Lorna Slater’s statement.

“There are a number of matters which must still be addressed around invoicing, labelling, PMPs, bonded warehouses and crucially about fair imposition of the UK EAN surcharge based on the real fraud threat posed to businesses which choose not to change labels – but the announcements have been welcome steps.”

Originally due to take effect on 16 August 2023, the deposit return scheme will now not be introduced until 1 March 2024.

Published Date: April 24, 2023

Category: Wholesale Industry News