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Drinks groups reject Scotland's plans for deposit return scheme on drinks bottles

Published:  19 June, 2015

An organisation supported by leading drinks trade associations has rejected plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for packaging in Scotland.

Under the plans, consumers would return bottles to shops to receive a deposit included in the original price they paid, a throwback to schemes in place several decades ago to keep drinks manufacturers' costs down.

The new scheme is being proposed by the Scottish government to boost recycling but is not proving popular with suppliers.

The Packaging Recycling Group Scotland said the plan "fails on nearly every practical level and ignores current consumer behaviour".

The plans include the use of "reverse vending machines" which the group says would cost a minimum of £32,000 each.

It says the proposals fail to take into account the rise of online shopping, loss of trading space to accommodate recycling points and costs that would be passed on to consumers from implementation.

PRGS spokeswoman Jane Bickerstaffe said: "The cost to the consumer will be significant, while the impact on retailers has been virtually ignored.

"We want the Scottish Government to understand that we are also intent on promoting reuse and recycling where possible, but this scheme does not promote reuse.

"As it stands it places extra burdens on consumers who will need to factor in extra trips and planning to claim refunds - and extra burdens on retailers to fit machines and operate a system."

David Martin, head of policy and external affairs at the Scottish Retail Consortium, added: "The environmental progress being made by the retail industry, particularly on driving down carbon emissions from transport, will be severely undermined by a deposit scheme, as millions of road miles will be required by retail haulage."

He said that the consumer burden would "fall disproportionately on those on low incomes or with limited personal mobility".

The PRGS is supported by the Wine & Spirit Association, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and the Scottish Grocers' Federation.