The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the Scottish government to ensure the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is “workable” for local shops, while giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament.
In the evidence session to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the ACS stressed that the regulations needed to consider the impact on local shops, emphasising the operational, cost and time pressures they would have on staff in store.
ACS head of policy and public affairs Edward Woodall told the committee: “The return points for containers should be strategically mapped to ensure that the system is more workable for retailers and does not place any undue burdens on local shops. Locations of returns points should be evidenced-based, taking into account capacity, proximity and consumer demand in order to develop a more efficient and cost-effective system for the whole of Scotland.
“We are pleased that the regulations offer retailers potential exemptions on their obligations to operate a return point based on ‘reasonable proximity’, but further clarification is needed on the application process, assessment criteria and how this will work in practice.”
The committee’s inquiry examined the proposed regulations for a deposit return scheme in Scotland focusing on: operational implications, costs, timeframes, materials in scope, exemptions and the return-to-retailer model.
Under the regulations, Scottish ministers may exempt a retailer from acting as a return point where specific criteria are met; the deposit will be set at 20p; materials will include: PET plastic, steel, aluminium and glass drinks containers; retailers must operate a return point at premises from which the point of sale of products are made; and retailers selling products by means of distance sales (for example, through an online grocery sale and delivery service) must provide takeback services from the site of delivery to consumers who have purchased those items.