ACS Sets Out Principles for a Scottish Deposit Return Scheme that Works for Retailers

ACS has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a deposit return scheme for Scotland, reiterating concerns about the potential impact of a scheme on retailers.

The consultation, launched in June, aims to introduce a scheme on beverage containers that ‘will work well for everyone in Scotland, providing increased recycling rates and quality of recycling’. ACS’ submission to the consultation outlines a series of principles that should be considered as part of a workable deposit return scheme to ensure that it doesn’t place unnecessary burdens on retailers, which include:

  • The return points for containers should be strategically placed instead of making it mandatory for every location that sells drinks to have return facilities
  • An automated system should be used, as it is not feasible for small retail businesses to manually manage returns
  • There should be an exemption from the scheme for shops that are under 280 sq m / 3000 sq ft, although these shops should be able to apply to opt in to the scheme
  • Deposit Return Schemes in all parts of the UK should be designed coherently so there are not separate approaches in Scotland, England and Wales 

 ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are keen to work positively with the Scottish Government to develop a policy that is workable for retailers and doesn’t place unnecessary burdens on the smallest businesses. The cost of introducing a deposit return scheme and space required for automated reverse vending machines is significant, which is why small shops must not be forced to provide return facilities.”

One of the core questions in the consultation looks at the kinds of containers that should be included in the scheme, based on the materials that they’re made of. In its’ submission, ACS recommends that PET drinks bottles and metal drinks cans should be in the scope of a deposit return scheme, but glass, HDPE bottles, cartons and cups should not due to the additional logistical and safety issues and manual return requirements of these packaging types.

ACS’ submission also raises concerns about the impact of a deposit return scheme on local authority kerbside collections, proposing that a scheme should only target drinks containers consumed “on-the-go” to minimise the impact on household recycling.

Populus polling of over 2,000 UK consumers found that 70% of respondents would rather use kerbside recycling than a deposit return scheme. If the introduction of a deposit return scheme led to fewer kerbside collections, this could have a detrimental effect on overall recycling rates.

Mr Lowman continued: “The introduction of a deposit return scheme alongside the existing, well established kerbside collection network raises a number of questions, and we urge the Scottish Government to consider carefully the potential impact on recycling rates if the frequency of kerbside collections is reduced.”

ACS’ submission is available here

The full consultation document, A Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland, is available here

This entry was posted by Chris on Tue, 25/09/2018 - 17:31