SGF and ACS: Local Shops Would Be Damaged By Bottle Return Scheme

Following the announcement by the First Minister that the SNP administration will press ahead with introducing a bottle return scheme, retail representatives have warned that the scheme will either impose costs on local retailers if they are part of the scheme, or drive customers to large shops if smaller stores are exempt.

In A Government’s Programme for Scotland, the Scottish National Party announced that they will ‘develop a deposit return scheme designed to increase recycling rates and reduce littering and implement it across Scotland. We will ensure the scheme is tailored to meet Scotland’s specific needs and we will work closely with the business community during its design and implementation. The question of whether this scheme should extend to small retailers – who have specific difficulties that would need to be overcome – will be addressed as part of this process.’

Today’s announcement is a U-turn on previously announced plans to commission new research and modelling on the implications for consumers, local shops and local authorities.

SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said: “This is an atrocious decision by the Scottish government. Deposit return is too costly, too disruptive and too expensive. If the Scottish government wanted to significantly damage the viability of an independent convenience store industry in Scotland, which provides 42,000 jobs and contributes over £500 million to the economy, then this is an ideal way to do it. This is bad policy making and bad government, there is no evidence to justify this decision.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Today’s announcement by the Scottish Government undermines the valuable work Zero Waste Scotland were doing to model the costs and implications of a Deposit Return Scheme for convenience retailers, consumers and local authorities. Our view remains that DRS would impose massive unnecessary time and cost burdens on retailers operating from small premises. A small shop exemption is also not the answer as it would just divert customers to larger stores where they could receive returns on their deposits.”

A survey of 2,000 consumers across the UK found that 70% preferred to use kerbside household recycling facilities over a deposit return system and a survey of 1,210 convenience store owners found that 71% thought a Deposit Return scheme would be impractical to implement due to the space required in store.

In a detailed submission to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee earlier this year, ACS and SGF outlined evidence which demonstrates how expensive, impractical and ultimately ineffective a deposit return scheme would be.

In the same survey of 2,000 consumers , the top three reasons given for why consumers would recycle more were:

  • If more packaging was recyclable (37%)
  • If packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%) and
  • If household recycling collections took a greater range of recyclable goods (29%)

ACS and SGF’s full briefing on the impact of DRS on retailers is available here:

This entry was posted by Chloe on Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:42