I was talking with my RDM the other day and, as someone with a very small store, the incoming deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland is very worrying.
When the change in licensing laws came into effect, the onus was placed on the retailer from the start. It was the same with curbing drinking. It fell on us, and at the time we needed the support from the police. We still don’t have that support and the same is now true with DRS elsewhere. It comes into play next August and that’s not as far away as you might think.
For a small store such as mine, I don’t know where I’m going to be able to fit a reverse vending machine, let alone think about the price of the extra electricity it will require to run. The fees for all of this haven’t been calculated correctly and neither have the logistics. I get my rubbish collected twice a week, my recycling even more regularly. The exact frequency of bottle collections hasn’t yet been decided, but I’m worried that there is going to be a backlog. If there is, I’m going to have nowhere to store the containers.
There will also have to be two types of barcode printed in the UK – one for Scotland and one for the rest of the UK – to stop people crossing back and forth across the border, buying bottles and then trying to redeem credit from Scotland. But this will also mean that there will be occasions when people won’t be able to return bottles because of the barcode.
The arrival date of the DRS has been pushed back more than a few times, but it doesn’t seem like they’ve used that extra time to find any more solutions or write any more explanatory information for retailers. They’ve just changed the date and left us to ask ourselves how it’s going to work logistically. It will cause extra stress for independents and their workforce. Everything will end up falling on us, at a time when people expect us to have even more services – whether it’s cash facilities or parcel services.
I plan to apply for an exemption, but I will have to be fast. If too many people have already put in for an exemption in your area, then I’ll be told I can’t have one.
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