The UK government has given the go-ahead for the deposit return scheme (DRS) across Scotland in March next year, on the condition the initiative excludes glass.
The exclusion, announced on 27 May, was made to ensure DRS in Scotland would be aligned with the scheme across the rest of the UK in 2025. It means participating retailers would only be required to accept plastic, aluminium and steel single-use containers. DRS will see 20p added to the price of the containers, with a refund given to a customer who returns it to a retailer.
The ACS has welcomed the exclusion of glass, adding it would come as a relief to retailers concerned about asking staff to handle and store potentially broken or soiled glass. Chief executive James Lowman added: “We now need clarity from governments across the UK on how they plan to implement DRS so we can prepare. The best outcome for local shops and our supply chain partners would be for an aligned introduction of DRS across the UK.”
The Federation of Independent Retailers has also welcomed the proposal for a joined-up scheme for the UK, whilst calling for an alternative measure if glass remains exempt, and compensation for retailers. The Fed’s national deputy vice president, Mo Razzaq, said: “This is undoubtedly more practical for businesses and consumers alike.
“If glass is ultimately exempt from the Scottish scheme, it is vitally important that an alternative measure is introduced to ensure litter decreases and more bottles are reused. There is clearly headroom for improvement in Scotland’s current level of success in reaching targets to curb waste of the earth’s resources.
“If, in the end, the Scottish scheme omits glass, it is important that independent retailers who took out leasing contracts for complex machines to handle returned containers including glass, are compensated for their losses.”