The Scottish Grocers’ Federation and Association of Convenience Stores have joined forces to oppose the implementation of a deposit and return scheme (DRS), which would encourage consumers to return empty containers to retail outlets in Scotland.

The two trade bodies have submitted a joint response to the call for evidence from Zero Waste Scotland on the feasibility of introducing a DRS in Scotland.

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 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.

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.”