Introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic drinks bottles would be “too burdensome” for customers and small shops, according to the Scottish Grocers Federation and Association of Convenience Stores.
The organisations have responded to a recent announcement from the Scottish Government commissioning further work into the viability of a deposit return scheme in Scotland, outlining the problems that a scheme would cause for retailers and urging the Government to focus on effective measures to increase recycling rates.
SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema said: “We have clear evidence of the highly negative impact of deposit return on both consumers and retailers. DRS is too complex, too expensive and too burdensome on customers and small shops. We should be looking instead at investing in kerbside schemes and raising the awareness of consumers about how they can recycle more effectively.”
“DRS is too complex, too expensive and too burdensome on customers and small shops. We should be looking instead at investing in kerbside schemes and raising the awareness of consumers about how they can recycle more effectively.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our view remains that DRS would impose massive unnecessary time and cost burdens on retailers operating from small premises. We will work with the Scottish Government on recycling measures that are effective, popular with the public and don’t add costs to small shops, such as improving the existing kerbside recycling schemes.”
In a detailed submission to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee earlier this year, ACS and SGF outlined evidence which it says demonstrates how “expensive, impractical and ultimately ineffective a deposit return scheme would be for the UK”.
A survey of 1,210 retailers found that 71% thought a Deposit Return scheme would be impractical to implement due to the space required in store.
A survey of 2,000 consumers across the UK found that 70% preferred to use kerbside household recycling facilities over a deposit return system for bottles and cans.
In the same survey, the top three reasons given for why consumers would recycle more were:
- If more packaging was recyclable (37%)
- If packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%) and
- If household recycling collections took a greater range of recyclable goods (29%)
In May, the Environmental, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee published a report on the viability of deposit returns, recognising that one of the central barriers to a scheme is the “lack of space for DRS collection facilities in smaller shops or independent retailers”.
A recent report by the Green Alliance, a deposit return scheme for beverage containers would stop a third of the plastic going into the oceans.
ACS and SGF’s full briefing on the impact of DRS on retailers is available here