Humza Yousaf has insisted it will be “extremely difficult” for the deposit return scheme (DRS) to go ahead as the policy was on the brink of collapse after UK ministers missed a deadline for a change of heart.

The Scottish Government Cabinet will today consider whether to scrap the key environmental and recycling policy after the UK Government essentially blocked the scheme from going ahead by demanding glass be excluded.

But the head of the company set up to administer the scheme was at odds with the First Minister after stressing the policy can “absolutely” go ahead without glass bottles included.

The First Minister had given UK ministers until yesterday to reverse its position, with the Scottish Government now poised to cancel the policy, which has already been delayed three times amid a host of implementation issues.

Read more: SNP deputy denies DRS demands of UK Government is 'ultimatum'

Asked about the viability of the scheme without glass, Mr Yousaf said: “It’s extremely difficult because not only do you look at whether or not CSL (Circularity Scotland Ltd) are able to get the drawdown of funding, we have to look at what the impact is going to be on Scottish businesses, on their jobs, on their investment, on the price of their product.

“That is all issues that we have to factor in.”

He added: “We don’t know whether the UK-wide scheme is going to happen.

“However, the date of October 2025 is for the birds.

“The Government hasn’t pushed ahead with the appropriate regulations, let alone the scheme provider.”

The FM said Scottish Secretary Alister Jack made “wholly inaccurate” claims about the glass recycling element of the proposals, which jeopardised £10 million in investment.

Read more: Yousaf accuses Jack of 'making intentionally misleading' DRS claims

Mr Jack referred to claims that the Scottish scheme will largely be crushing glass to be used as aggregate for roads but Circularity Scotland – the administrator – has disputed that assertion.

He also denied his Government has misrepresented the views of brewing company Tennent’s on the issue.

The chief executive of Circularity Scotland, set up to administer the DRS, has warned the removal of glass would not spell the end of the policy.

David Harris warned however, that if the scheme north of the border was dumped as a result of a row between Holyrood and Westminster, there could be knock-on impacts on similar initiatives in the rest of the UK.

As many as 1.8 billion cans and plastic bottles could be returned in Scotland each year under DRS – with Mr Harris insisting this is “well above what is currently being achieved in terms of recycling rates”.

Asked if his organisation can make DRS work in Scotland without glass included in it, Mr Harris said: “We absolutely can.”

He added: “If we look at the Scottish deposit return scheme, even with glass taken out, it will still be one of the most ambitious start-ups for a deposit return scheme so far.”

The Keep Britain Tidy charity urged everyone involved to focus on the environmental benefits of the DRS.

Allison Ogden-Newton said: “What’s getting forgotten here is that the priority needs to be the environment.

“Deposit return schemes have been successful the world over at bringing down littering and driving recycling rates to unprecedented rates – up to 98% in some cases.

“There is no reason why the UK should not be allowed to benefit from deposit return and to improve its outdated and failing recycling system.

“The Government estimates that deposits will drive down littering of in-scope items by 85% – that’s broken glass, cans and plastic bottles which can be removed from the environment and returned to producers to make new products.”

Mr Yousaf’s warning came after UK Government Communities Secretary Michael Gove called on the Scottish Government to “acknowledge… it’s got things wrong” over Scotland’s DRS.

Read more: Lorna Slater hints DRS could be axed due to UK Government 'sabotage'

SNP Chris Stephens cited the Conservative manifesto saying: “Other than a decision to oppose and undermine devolved parliaments and governments, what has changed from their manifesto, or is the UK Government simply bottling it?”

In response, Mr Gove said: “I’m tempted to say the SNP should can it on this question because it has been the case that the businesses with whom the Scottish Government have been interacting, have been uniform and loud and clear in their determination to ensure that this scheme works inter-operably across the whole UK.

“We’ve been very clear that an exclusion can be granted but only if the Scottish Government works to ensure that we have a scheme that works for all the citizens of the UK and all the businesses of Scotland.”

Mr Stephens said: “The First Minister of Wales has now been contacted by the UK Government to make changes to the Welsh DRS scheme to remove glass… Surely instead of walking on broken glass, they could just simply recycle it?”

Mr Gove replied: “The Scottish Government has singularly failed to carry Scottish business, Scottish public opinion, Scottish consumers and even its own MSPs with it.

“Now we stand ready to help, we stand ready to rescue the Scottish Government from its own folly, but it relies on the Scottish Government doing something that it’s been singularly reluctant to do, which is to take a small slice of humble pie and acknowledge that on this area, it’s got things wrong.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden, described the First Minister of being "in danger of looking like the wee boy who picks up his football and says, ‘I’m not playing any longer’."

He added: “If this is to be the end of the road for Lorna Slater’s shambolic deposit return scheme, then it’s down to the SNP-Greens’ incompetence, stubbornness and obsession with seeking constitutional grievance.

“The reality is there is a way to save the scheme – with a UK-aligned model that businesses want and which the UK government has proposed.

“The problem for the First Minister is that this would involve him swallowing his pride and withdrawing his inflammatory ultimatum.

“Throughout this fiasco, ministers have ignored the warnings of businesses across Scotland about the flaws in their DRS plans. Now is the time for them to finally show some humility and listen.”