The Scottish government has launched a consultation on its proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), giving retailers the opportunity to voice their views on how the initiative should take shape.

The consultation asks how much the deposit should be; where people could return items; and what sort of materials and products should be included.

It also provides four example designs which would enable between 1.5 billion and 2.5 billion containers to be recycled, according to the Scottish government and Zero Waste Scotland, who worked with stakeholders to design possible options for the scheme.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Publishing these options for a deposit return scheme is a significant step forward in our work to tackle plastic pollution and is another demonstration of our leadership on developing a circular economy.

“The consultation sets out that deposit return is not only an effective way of increasing recycling rates and preventing drinks containers from ending up as litter, but it is also an economic opportunity.”

Scottish Grocers Federation chief executive Pete Cheema said: “SGF will work with Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish government to ensure that any DRS system is both viable and workable for business retailers.

“We do not want a compulsory system but one where retailers can choose to opt-in. The system itself should be centrally administered and composed of retail and industry with a balanced ownership across the supply chain.”

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “We have worked with Zero Waste Scotland ahead of this consultation being published, and we will be responding to the Scottish government’s consultation.

“We want to be constructive in helping the Scottish government to develop a viable system, but we will hold them to account on their clear commitment to recognise the difficulties a deposit return scheme would place on small retailers.

“Specifically, the manual handling of returned packaging in small stores would raise hygiene risks, add significant time and to transactions and lengthen queues, and would take up space that these stores simply do not have.”

The consultation is available here