How retailers are preparing for DRS

With the much-anticipated deposit return scheme set to launch in Scotland in August, the betterRetailing team finds out how retailers are preparing for it

Plastic bottles recycling bin DRS deposit return scheme
Dan Brown, Lothian Stores, Musselburgh, East Lothian

1Dan Brown, Lothian Stores, Musselburgh, East Lothian

“My concern is the lack of understanding of it all. There’s a lot of uncertainty about whether we’re going to need a machine and whether it will be worthwhile getting one or doing manual take back. I’d prefer not to do it manually, but the cost of the machine has to justify itself.

“Despite the fact it’s imminent, it’s still early days in terms of information and how to act on it. My strategy is to sit and watch what everyone else does for the moment, and see what new ideas and information come out of the woodwork.

“I believe there are positives from a customer perspective. They’ll understand what’s trying to be done and the people who are proactive and try to get it in place first will get that response from customers. The big question, however, concerns the cost to the retailer. It should be cost-neutral, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Faisal Naseem, two stores in Arbroath, Angus

2Faisal Naseem, two stores in Arbroath, Angus

“I’m looking at the storage space for holding these bottles. We’re going to struggle to have a machine taking up that much space in our store, particularly when that space could be dedicated to something that’s giving us more margin. Where does it leave a retailer where we’re doing our bit for the environment and are unable to stay open?

“But if we don’t go down that road, we’re still going to have to find space to store these bottles. I read an article that said people will get vouchers when they return bottles that they might have purchased from different stores. This means they can spend that in our store, which will be a huge benefit, and is a reason to take part.

“At the moment, with everything else going on, we’re not looking to do too much unless there are other things in place to help us. If there was a grant towards retailers having a storage box in their store, that would encourage a lot of retailers.”

Mo Razzaq, Premier Mo’s, Blantyre, South Lanarkshire

3Mo Razzaq, Premier Mo’s, Blantyre, South Lanarkshire

“I’m very prepared. I have a room set up for it and very good knowledge, but I’ve been preparing for this for five years. I’ve done an exercise to see how many glass and plastic bottles I’m selling and from that I’ve deduced what the return rate will be and whether it’s viable to have a returns machine, which it is.

“I have a small room based in the shop and outside that there’s a cash machine. I’ve thrown out the cash machine and have turned it into a reverse vending room. We’ve got a sink, a radiator, a hand dryer and a bin in there, and it will house the machine.

“We’re going to run trials in the coming months, which will help the staff get used to it. We’ve already done some others, which went very well. There are different options for everyone dependent on which manufacturer they use, which will suit different budgets. Speaking to them about this will help retailers understand how to get themselves ready.”

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