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Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

Retailers Say No to Deposit Return Scheme

Scottish Grocers Federation and ACS join forces to oppose bottle return scheme

 The trade associations have just submitted a joint response to the call for evidence from Scottish environment agency Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) on the feasibility of implementing a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland. The deposit and return scheme is aimed at increasing recycling rates and reducing litter by encouraging consumers to return empty containers to retail outlets. DRS schemes focus primarily on beverage containers but the proposed Scottish scheme could be the most wide-ranging in Europe and include all types of aluminium cans, cartons, glass bottles, plastic bottles and containers.

The joint SGF-ACS response strongly argues that this is the wrong solution for Scotland and that convenience store retailers would be simply unable to store and process the anticipated high levels of returns envisaged by the feasibility study. Additionally DRS would increase cost for consumers and throw into reverse the considerable progress Scotland has made in implementing kerbside recycling services.

SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema said,

“We have serious concerns about this entire process - the ZWS feasibility study has not looked at the potential impact on convenience store. A typical convenience store will sell around 3,000 units a week of soft drinks alone. Space is always at a premium for convenience store retailers - how could a store be expected to cope with the anticipated high levels of return?”

ACS Chief Executive, James Lowman, said: "A deposit return scheme would bring massive new burdens on local shops, add cost to the supply chain, and lead to less recycling through local authority kerbside collections.  The Scottish Government should stop and think about the impact of such a scheme on businesses and on the environment."