The Prime Minister described it as an “unreasonable demand” and accused ministers in Whitehall of trying to “torpedo the DRS” and “undermine devolution”.
The SNP leader spoke to reporters during a visit to Falkirk to launch a new ‘fan bank’ to give football supporters the opportunity to buy shares in their local clubs.
Over the weekend, the UK government effectively removed the DRS design from the Scottish government, telling ministers it could only go ahead with a series of substantive changes.
These include removing glass from the list of recyclable bins and agreeing to standardize both the deposit charge and labeling with its own scheme, which is set to launch in the rest of the UK in 2025.
The UK government said the accommodations were the only way they would accept an exemption under the UK’s Internal Market Act, legislation introduced after brexit to try to ensure frictionless trade in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Without it, the Scottish scheme would be limited to beverage cartons produced north of the border.
Mr Yousaf said: “The choice we face is to accept the unreasonable demands of the UK government as part of their attempt to not just torpedo the DRS, but quite frankly to undermine devolution.
“That would be excluding glass, but getting it right could be seriously detrimental to companies in Scotland.”
He claimed it was an attempt by the Conservatives in London to “destroy” the devolution in his last 12 to 18 months in government, before a general election expected next year.
Asked how the scheme could progress without the exemption, he said: “We have to consider that if we progress without glass and if it’s going to hurt the Scots.” business that way, then yes, another option is not to go ahead with the scheme, which would be very disappointing given that Parliament voted for the scheme and voted for these regulations.”
Earlier on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland show, Lorna Slater, the minister responsible for the scheme, said the Scottish government needs to “quickly reassess” whether the plans can go ahead.
She said: “We have hit a real stumbling block with the UK government, at this late hour, changing their minds and saying we can’t have glass in the system when businesses across Scotland have already invested in having glass. in the system.
“Now we need to reassess, talk to all the companies in Scotland that have made this investment and figure out how to go from here.”
Asked if the UK government’s decision presents “insurmountable” problems for the scheme in Scotland, he admitted: “This is the question we need to resolve with Scottish companies, is it insurmountable?
“We have to rerun all the numbers very quickly, see what investment has been made and see if we can move forward.
“A deposit return scheme is the right thing to do, but Westminster have really put up obstacles and tried to sabotage the system, and we’re going to have to see if what they’ve left us is viable.”
He added that “for the UK government to force us to remove glass from the scheme so late in the day is challenging,” as he accused the Conservatives in Westminster of reversing their plans for DRS.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to improving the environment, while also defending the UK’s internal market.
“The drinks industry has raised concerns that the Scottish government’s deposit return scheme differs from plans in the rest of the UK, which resulted in the Scottish government reviewing and halting their scheme earlier this year. .
“We have heard these concerns and this is why we have agreed to the Scottish Government’s request for a temporary and limited UK Internal Market (UKIM) exclusion to ensure the Scottish Government’s scheme aligns with planned schemes for the rest of the UK.
“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 of the UK will increase recycling collection rates and reduce litter, as well as minimizing disruption to the drinks industry and ensuring simplicity for consumers.”
Meanwhile, the Nightlife Industry Association (NTIA) has urged the government to delay the start of Scotland’s DRS until the launch of the other UK schemes in 2025.
They said the Scottish scheme’s design was “fatally flawed” and would “inevitably lead to cross-border trade frictions, a reduction in consumer choice and a significant financial penalty for Scottish businesses and consumers.”
A spokesperson said: “We will continue to work with the Scottish government, however we will now proceed with a Scotland-only scheme pending knowledge of the deposit levels, producer costs and returns handling fees that will apply in the rest of the United Kingdom”. It would seem nothing short of reckless.
“We therefore urge the Scottish Government to delay the launch of the Scotland DRS until a broad set of scheme standards can be agreed in the UK.”