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    Local shops in Scotland still uncertain of DRS approach

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    New figures from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) have revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of Scottish independent retailers do not know how they will approach the deposit return scheme which is due to go live on 16th August.

    The Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland will introduce a 20p deposit on PET Plastic, glass and metal single use containers between 50ml and 3ltrs. Consumers can get the deposit back when they return the containers to retailers, either via a dedicated Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or through a manual returns process. ACS’ Deposit Return Scheme guide outlines the areas that retailers need to consider when looking at whether to install an RVM in their store, accept manual returns of containers, or apply for an exemption from the scheme altogether.

    Figures from the latest Voice of Local Shops survey (VOLS) have also shown that 13% of Scottish independent retailers do not know what a deposit return scheme is, with just months remaining until the scheme comes into force.

    ACS has published comprehensive guidance on the Scottish scheme and a set of frequently asked questions on the details of the scheme in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

    ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our research has shown that there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the deposit return scheme in Scotland, both in terms of understanding of what the scheme is and how retailers will participate.

    “I encourage all retailers in Scotland to utilise our guide to help their decision making and implementation process in the coming months. We know from previous changes in legislation that there can be a tendency to leave things to the last minute – it’s absolutely crucial that everyone starts preparing as soon as possible to ensure that they’re ready for August.”

    Findings from the survey have also revealed that 12 per cent of retailers intend to offer a reverse vending machine (RVM) in store, 9 per cent intend to process the returns manually and 13 per cent of retailers are planning to accept returns but have not yet made a decision how they intend to do this. 6 per cent have already decided to seek an exemption from offering a return point at their store.

    The guide includes details on the following areas of the scheme:

    1. How the scheme works and how deposits move through the supply chain
    2. How to make the decision about what kind of return point (if any) to provide for customers in store
    3. What retailers need to consider when processing returns manually
    4. What retailers need to consider when installing and maintaining a reverse vending machine (RVM)
    5. How to collect and store containers away from the customer-facing areas of the store
    6. How to apply for a proximity exemption from the scheme
    7. How to apply for an environmental health exemption from the scheme

    England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced plans for a Deposit Return Scheme, coming into force in October 2025. ACS is currently consulting with the Government on the appointment of a Deposit Management Organisation (DMO) ahead of the introduction of the scheme.

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