UK agrees to Scottish deposit scheme without glass

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The UK government has agreed for Scotland to pilot a controversial deposit return scheme excluding glass – a key part of Scottish proposals.

Holyrood had voted on regulations to include glass in the scheme, which is expected to start in March.

The UK government said it wanted to ensure the Scottish scheme aligned with UK-wide plans.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said UK ministers had “demanded” the exemption on Friday night.

He said: “That’s your respect agenda for you right there.”

Scottish ministers had sought an exemption from internal market rules to allow the scheme to go ahead.

The scheme, aimed at increasing the number of single-use drinks bottles and cans that are recycled, was due to begin in August but was delayed following concerns from the drinks industry.

In April, Mr Yousaf said there was “uncertainty” because the UK government had delayed its decision on whether to exclude the scheme from the Internal Market Act.

‘Minimise disruption’

On Saturday morning the UK government confirmed it had accepted the Scottish government’s request “on a temporary and limited basis”.

The scheme will cover PET plastic, aluminium, and steel cans only.

A spokesperson said: “The drinks industry has raised concerns about the Scottish government’s deposit return scheme differing from plans in the rest of the UK, resulting in the Scottish government reviewing and pausing their scheme earlier this year.

“Deposit return schemes need to be consistent across the UK and this is the best way to provide a simple and effective system.

“A system with the same rules for the whole UK will increase recycling collection rates and reduce litter – as well as minimise disruption to the drinks industry and ensure simplicity for consumers.”

The temporary exclusion will cover the period from the launch of the Scottish scheme until planned schemes are in place in the rest of the UK.

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