The ACS welcomes new guidance, supporting retailers ahead of the Scottish DRS introduction.

The ACS welcomes new guidance to businesses.

The ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) has recently welcomed new guidance published by the Scottish Government that aims to support businesses, and make the transition to a workable and cost effective Scottish DRS a reality.

The new guidelines, issued in November 22 outline and simplify the process for gaining exemption.  While it doesn't change the eligibility criteria for exemption, it does provide the following important features:

1) A new Return Point Mapping & Exemption Support service that supports retailers in identifying an alternative return point, and removes the requirement to share commercially sensitive information with other retailers.

2) Confirmation that the Scottish Government will take premises size into account in determining the risk of breaching obligations relating to environmental health. A retailer is likely to be approved for an environmental health exemption if the footprint of their premises is 100m2 or less, or if they are a food-to-go retailer and the footprint of their premises is 280m2 or less.

3) Streamlined evidence and assessment processes that better take into account the challenges facing specialist, food service, and hospitality retailers. This should also speed up the decision making process for Scottish Ministers, and provide clarity to retailers on the outcome of their application.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS said: “This is a welcome step forward towards a workable Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland. We will work with our members to help them consider whether to seek an exemption or to make their store a return point. This will be a site-by-site decision and this new guidance makes it more likely that the right shops will act as return points in the scheme. The UK, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments should note the challenges that Scotland is experiencing in using an exemptions system to define a workable and economically viable network of return points. We need solutions now on how to map the right network of return points to meet our common objective of an effective Deposit Return Scheme operating throughout the UK.” 

Scotland’s DRS is now set to go live on October 2025, and will include a range of materials at launch including PET plastic, Aluminium, Steel and Glass.

The guidance is available to view here

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