Warning no-deal Brexit ‘could delay bottle recycling’ scheme

A Deposit Return Scheme is in the pipeline.
A Deposit Return Scheme is in the pipeline.
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The creation of Scotland’s UK-leading recycling scheme for drinks containers may have to be delayed in the event of a no-deal Brexit, retailers have warned.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said shops around the country would have to focus on “more pressing matters” if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place.

Under plans announced in May, Scotland is set to become the first part of the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in an effort to boost recycling rates.

Plastic and glass bottles or aluminium drinks cans sold in shops, pubs and restaurants will carry an extra 20p surcharge, which can be reclaimed by customers when they are returned empty.

Ministers want the scheme to be up and running in less than two years, but the SRC told the advisory group tasked with overseeing the plans that such a time frame may prove impossible.

SRC director David Lonsdale said ministers may have to delay the roll out of the scheme to allow retailers to deal with the expected fallout caused by leaving the EU without a deal.

“A no-deal Brexit would come at the very time many retailers are preparing for two of their busiest trading periods of the year, Black Friday and Christmas,” he added.

“In that event we may well will look to Government to review all impending regulatory moves that add costs to consumers and firms, and possibly delay implementation until the situation becomes clearer.”