Coke Rugby recycling

The  Scottish government’s idea has already received backing from Coca-Cola

The Scottish government has commissioned a detailed study into a potential deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, despite strong opposition from retailers.

The initiative would see shoppers pay a deposit when buying cans or bottles, which would be refunded upon their return.

Government-funded body Zero Waste Scotland will examine design options and costs for the idea, which has already received backing from Coca-Cola.

The findings will be put to a public consultation before ministers reach a final decision.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Clearly there are a number of issues for the Scottish government to consider when it comes to deposit return schemes that can only be addressed by carrying out work to understand the design of a potential system.”

Environmental groups, packaging firms and retailers will be invited to join a steering group to oversee the process.

Zero Waste Scotland’s initial study found the scheme could save local authorities between £3m and £6m on litter clearance alone.

However, The Scottish Grocers Federation and Association of Convenience Stores say the scheme will be problematic for retailers.

“We have clear evidence of the highly negative impact of deposit return on both consumers and retailers,” said SGF chief executive Pete Cheema.

“DRS is too complex, too expensive and too burdensome on customers and small shops. We should be looking instead at investing in kerbside schemes and raising the awareness of consumers about how they can recycle more effectively.”

A survey of 1,210 retailers carried out by the organisations found that 71% thought a DRS would be impractical to implement due to the space required in store.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our view remains that DRS would impose massive unnecessary time and cost burdens on retailers operating from small premises. We will work with the Scottish government on recycling measures that are effective, popular with the public and don’t add costs to small shops, such as improving the existing kerbside recycling schemes.”