Industry prepares for Deposit Return Scheme

Industry prepares for Deposit Return Scheme

More than 600 representatives from drinks producers, retailers and hospitality businesses met in Glasgow to prepare for the introduction of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme from summer next year

The Scheme is one of the biggest environmental infrastructure projects in the UK. From August 2023 every single-use drinks container sold in Scotland – such as plastic bottles, cans or glass – will be subject to a 20p deposit. This will then be refunded to consumers when they take back the container to their local shop or one of thousands of return points across the country.

“We know that businesses have concerns about how the scheme will operate and how it will affect them,” said David Harris, CEO of scheme administrator Circularity Scotland. “That’s exactly why we held this conference – to create a forum for all those who will be involved in delivering the scheme to get the information they need. Ultimately, by bringing businesses together and creating more opportunities to collaborate we can achieve what we all want: to reduce waste and protect Scotland’s environment for generations to come.”

The conference featured a keynote speech from Lorna Slater MSP, the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, who is responsible for introducing the scheme. She stressed that the Scottish Government was “listening and responding to industry concerns”, demonstrated by the recently announced streamlining of the exemption process for retailers who did not wish to act as return points.

Shahid ‘Mo’ Razzaq, convenience retailer and Deputy Vice President of the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) said: “Retailers like us will be at the forefront of the Deposit Return Scheme, providing thousands of return points in every corner of Scotland where consumers will be able to take back their bottles and cans. Delivering this is complex and presents different obstacles for retailers of all different sizes but being able to speak to experts and other businesses helps us to understand what is required and allows us to plan effectively for the future.”