Almost of half (47%) of independent retailers in Scotland still do not know how they will deal with the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) despite it being less than five months to its go-live date of 16 August.

The research, carried out by Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), highlighted the confusion surrounding the implementation of DRS in Scotland. Figures from the latest Voice of Local Shops survey (VOLS) have also found that 13% of Scottish independent retailers do not know what a Deposit Return Scheme is.

The research also revealed that of the retailers that do know how they will approach DRS, 12% of retailers intend to offer a reverse vending machine (RVM) in store, 9% intend to process the returns manually and 13% of retailers are planning to accept returns but have not yet made a decision how they intend to do this. 6% have already decided to seek an exemption from offering a return point at their store.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our research has shown that there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the deposit return scheme in Scotland, both in terms of understanding of what the scheme is and how retailers will participate.

“I encourage all retailers in Scotland to utilise our guide to help their decision making and implementation process in the coming months. We know from previous changes in legislation that there can be a tendency to leave things to the last minute – it’s absolutely crucial that everyone starts preparing as soon as possible to ensure that they’re ready for August.”

ACS has published comprehensive guidance on the Scottish scheme and a set of frequently asked questions on the details of the scheme in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

Due to be implemented on 16 August, the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland will introduce a 20p deposit on PET Plastic, glass and metal single use containers between 50ml and 3ltrs. Through the scheme, consumers can get the deposit back when they return the containers to retailers, either via a dedicated Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or through a manual returns process.