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Drinks companies and retailers have been summoned to a meeting with Scottish ministers on Wednesday, which some believe could signal the death knell for the UK’s first deposit return scheme.

The Grocer understands the Scottish government will brief the industry on whether It will go ahead with the scheme, with the UK government being widely expected to reject an ultimatum to allow it to include glass. 

First minister Humza Yousaf wrote to prime minister Rishi Sunak on Friday, giving him until the end of today to back Scotland’s plan for an “all in” system.

It came after Westminster announced last week it would allow a “temporary exclusion” under the Internal Markets Act for Scotland to go ahead with the DRS launch next March – but only if glass was excluded.

The Scottish cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss its next move before the crunch meeting with industry on Wednesday.

“Wednesday looks like it is D Day for DRS,” said one industry source.

“It’s highly unlikely the Scottish government will call a meeting with industry just to take another sounding board, so this looks like it could be it.”

Another source added: “It seems inconceivable the UK government will back down over glass and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the Scottish government will decide to blow the whole thing up.”

Scotland secretary Alister Jack told the BBC yesterday there would be no backing down by the UK government on glass.

SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said it left Scottish ministers having to make a decision tomorrow on whether to proceed, if the UK government decided to “sabotage” the scheme.

Even if the Scottish government does decide to press ahead without glass, retailers and drinks producers have told The Grocer it is highly unlikely the scheme could be ready for launch in March next year.

Last week, soft giants declared the launch was “no longer viable” and urged the Scottish government to pause the launch to coincide with plans for the launch in England and Wales in October 2024.