Scottish retailers had a chance to see a DRS machine in action at the NFRN’s Menzies Linwood depot day.
Excel Vending provided the machine and director John Macdonald was on hand to answer retailer questions. Macdonald described the morning session stating: “It went very well and we had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, retailers with stores from big and small, rural and urban.
"It’s important to take into account individual needs and build a system that works for everyone.”
Mo Razzaq owns both a Premier and Family Shopper store in Blantyre near Glasgow. He managed to get a sneak peak of the machines before the event and told Retail Express: “Seeing it answers a lot of questions for me, for one thing it’s really not a bad size.”
He continues: “I remember when Camelot were trying to get retailers to commit to taking their stands and 5p on the £1, as soon it was up and running those who were previously against it were suddenly all for it.”
Excel Vending’s director agrees: “The perception of the equipment as monstrous machines isn’t real, they’re around the size of the vending machines you will already find in convenience stores up and down the country.”
Rory O'Brien runs Glasgow HND service Papers Direct. After attending the event he told Retail Express: “I’m now convinced that it can bring money into convenience stores, it’s a great step forward.”
He continued: “In a good size convenience store the machines are a good asset, smaller stores may not have the space and it’s important we ensure there are ways for every size store to benefit from the scheme.”
The Scottish Parliament has committed to definitely implementing a return scheme, regardless of the outcome of a report it commissioned to decide how the scheme would work.
Macdonald said it’s hard for retailers to envisage how it will work in their store or how much it will cost until the exact working of the scheme is finalised by the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland. However, he is confident that it will make financial sense for independents.
“ZWS are not going to re-invent the wheel, they will look at existing models and pick the best bits so we’ll get a very capable solution.”
Though NFRN supports the deposit return scheme in Scotland, the ACS, SGF, FWD and Scottish Wholesale Association all came out against the idea.
According to a survey by the ACS, 71% of retailers thought space requirements would make DRS impractical.
Retailers in England and Wales will be watching Scotland closely, as Wales has also pledged to introduce a similar scheme and a Keep Britain Tidy report into DRS is to be unveiled in Parliament in October.