Scottish retailers would face start-up costs of at least £40.7m if a Deposit Return Scheme is introduced, new figures from Zero Waste Scotland reveal.

The Scottish government’s environment agency released the figures as part of its final summary of evidence gathering into the potential impact of a deposit scheme in Scotland.

The Scottish Grocers Federation and the Association of Convenience Stores have been urging the Scottish government to abandon the proposals due to the potential costs for retailers.

SGF head of public affairs Dr John Lee said: “It is now absolutely clear from the Scottish government’s own environment agency that there will be massive start-up costs for retailers if a scheme were to be implemented.

“There is simply no way that independent retailers in Scotland could or should have to meet these costs. There are already huge cost pressures on retailers and this would threaten the viability of most independent stores. The potential cost to retailers is reason enough for this idea to be scrapped now.”

The summary also showed that the impact on changing consumer behaviour in terms of recycling and littering is likely to be marginal, Dr Lee added.

The Scottish government has indicated that it will ask Zero Waste Scotland to undertake further modelling on different deposit return systems.