drs delays deposit return scheme

Independent retailers were told how the bottle-collection process and commission structure is likely to work in the deposit return scheme (DRS) at this year’s NFRN Scottish Conference in Glasgow. 

A representative from reverse-vending machine manufacturer Sielaff updated store owners on how to prepare for the scheme, which is expected to come into force in August 2023. 

Former Scottish district president Ferhan Ashiq, owner of Levenhall Village Store in Musselburgh, told betterRetailing: “The presentations on DRS were all really informative and helped to break it down for retailers who still may be wary.” 

Bottle collections 

It is understood wholesaler Menzies, among others, may potentially be partners for collecting returned bottles. 

In addition, voluntary return points, will allow retailers to sign up to be a location for bottle returns that is used by multiple stores to drive down operational costs and prevent multiple purchasing of RVMs. 

Sielaff’s head of sales and business development, Zac Miller, said voluntary return points will go live this November, and be trialled. 

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Handling fee 

Miller said the handling fee participating stores are expected to receive for taking part in the scheme would range from 2.8p to 3.2p per container. “The more containers in the system, the cheaper the handling fee could be,” he said. 

Ashiq praised the highest rate of commission. “This would be workable for most retailers, but we will have to see because the lower end wouldn’t make it worth it,” he said. 

At the start of this year, scheme administrator Circularity Scotland Limited (CSL) hired accounting company PwC to help determine the commission. 

At the time, an industry source said they would be carrying out analysis on the fee, and that it would be agreed upon by CSL board members. 

Border fraud 

In an attempt to crack down on containers passing through regions of the UK fraudulently, Miller said it would be the responsibility of bottle manufacturers to ensure all products entering Scotland were signed up to the deposit return scheme. 

“By law, new products have to register to the scheme to be able to sell in the country,” he said. “The data will then be downloaded onto the server and onto each RVM.” 

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