The chair of the Scottish parliament group that will decide the future of the country’s deposit return scheme has promised an outcome that is both practical and beneficial for independent retailers.

Speaking to Retail Express, MSP Graeme Dey, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s environment committee said: “We are working to get a system in Scotland that people will buy into, that is practical for retailers.”

A parliament sub-committee is working with Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) to build “an ambitious deposit return scheme for Scotland”. In an update, ZWS said it is examining existing models in other countries, including Estonia.

Dey suggested the Estonian model has parallels to the situation in Scotland, where independent retailers have expressed concerns over DRS. He explained: “In Estonia, a number of small retailers understandably opted out of taking part in its DRS, but my understanding is that uptake now is nearing 100%. The reason for that was the voucher or token people get back in shop is being spent in that shop, so retailers realised there was a benefit. It’s a win-win situation.”

Speaking earlier in the day at the NFRN’s Scottish parliamentary reception, Dey told shop owners that they had “earned the right to be listened to about the practical concerns”.

NFRN national president Linda Sood added that the scheme must be “acceptable to all”.

ZWS is due to hold a conference on 23 May to reveal details about its progress so far, and the responses it has received from retailers, suppliers, charities and trade groups. 

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