With DRS scheduled to be introduced in Scotland in 2022 with England, Wales and Northern Ireland following by late 2024, the ACS (The Association of Convenience Stores) is rightly worried for its members over both the complexity and workability of the scheme for smaller retailers.
ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “Local shops have an important role to play in the introduction of a deposit return scheme, which can be successful in driving recycling rates if it is introduced without adversely impacting retailers. For a scheme to be sustainable and supported by retailers, the handling fee must be fair and tailored to the size and operational requirements of the store, resulting in the scheme being cost-neutral for retailers that take part.”
The ACS has set out the details of how it thinks a deposit return scheme (DRS) should be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that it is workable for local shops and does not leave them out of pocket. As part of its proposal it has called for the introduction of the following measures as part of the design of the scheme:
- Schemes across the UK should align as closely as possible to avoid the possibility of fraud and confusion from customers.
- A strategically mapped set of return points, as opposed to forcing every location that sells drinks to also take back containers.
- Where small stores have limited sales and storage space, they should be able to apply for an exemption from DRS.
- For hygiene and safety reasons, no retailer should be forced to take back containers manually.
- The scheme should be cost neutral for retailers through fair setting of the handling fee.
- Glass should not be included within the scope of the scheme.