The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) have written to the Scottish government, representing convenience retailers across the UK, to highlight concerns over plans to introduce a bottle return scheme.
The trade associations highlighted apprehensions about a bottle return scheme and made clear that retailers do not have the space to store and manage high volumes of returned containers. They also said it would not be financially viable for retailers to install a reverse vending solution.
In addition, an increase in staffing levels would be required to manage returns and prevent increased queuing times at the till, in turn contributing to addition business costs, the groups said.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “A deposit return scheme would bring massive time and cost burdens on local convenience store retailers. We believe that this system is unnecessary, and that regulators should focus their attention on maximising the effectiveness of local authorities’ existing kerbside recycling schemes.”
Research from Zero Waste Scotland gathered evidence from a range of deposit return experts, drinks manufacturers, trade bodies, retailers and logistics companies. It identified that a system where customers pay a small cash deposit when buying a canned or bottled drink and get the money back when they return the item to a collection point to be recycled could play an important role in reducing litter.
In 2015, Zero Waste Scotland called for evidence from the industry on the implications of a bottle return scheme in Scotland. The ACS and SGF expressed concerns then that a deposit returns scheme was the wrong solution for the UK, given the existing kerbside recycling facilities available to the public and the cost.
SGF chief executive Pete Cheema, said: “Deposit return is the wrong solution for Scotland and the wrong solution for our industry. Local authorities are making good progress in achieving the national recycling target and it makes no sense to throw this into reverse and place the burden on retailers.”