Industry groups have been reacting to a key report on plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland.

This week the Scottish parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee called for changes - including expanding the scheme to include other packaging such as cartons, pouches and HDPE plastic. It also suggested having flexible deposits and called for a rethink on the timescale. 


ACS CEO James Lowman

“The committee’s report reflects industry frustrations about the lack of clarity surrounding the implementation of DRS in Scotland. Local shops need certainty on how the scheme will operate, how they can apply for exemptions and if their staff will be required to manually accept soiled packaging in stores.

“We welcome the Committee’s recommendation for the implementation period to be extended beyond April 2021 and for the scheme to be cost-neutral for retailers. We urge the Scottish government to consider strategically mapping the location of return points instead of requiring every high street and village retailer to accept returns.”

British Soft Drinks Association director general Gavin Partington

“We urge the Scottish government to heed the Environment Committee’s advice to follow a more realistic timetable for delivery of a deposit return scheme. Extending the timeframe and giving more powers and flexibility to an industry-led scheme administrator will help ensure the system stands a better chance of success.”

FWD CEO James Bielby

“We’re very pleased that the committee recognised the role of wholesale in the implementation of DRS, and the vital role of wholesale in food and drink supply in Scotland.

“We support the recommendation that any DRS should be cost-neutral to wholesalers and agree that wholesalers must be involved in the scheme’s implementation.

“FWD will be working closely with SWA to ensure this happens and to highlight the impact of DRS in Scotland on the wider UK wholesale industry.”

Scottish Wholesale Association CEO Colin Smith

“This report makes for exceptionally positive reading for wholesalers and vindicates the work that SWA has done to represent its members.

“The recommendation that the scheme be cost-neutral for wholesalers, as well as retailers, is hugely important for our sector as is the recommendation that wholesalers, along with other industry representatives and trade bodies, should be represented within the scheme administrator and play an active role in its governance.

“The ECCLR’s report has certainly listened to the SWA and the voices of our members. They have recognised the challenging timescale as well as many of the complexities that remain unanswered and for which the scheme administrator will be left to find solutions.

“I sincerely hope that the Scottish government takes on board the committee’s recommendations and SWA looks forward to working with them to find a mechanism that ensures wholesalers are indeed cost-neutral.”

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley

“Alupro welcomes today’s report by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, which identifies the need for a variable deposit as part of the deposit return scheme for drinks containers. We have worked hard to ensure the voice of the aluminium packaging industry is heard, with our main concern being the plan to attach a flat rate deposit of 20p to all containers, of any size.

“Our consumer research showed that a £4.80 deposit on a 24-can multipack was very likely to drive people away from infinitely recyclable cans and towards larger, plastic bottles, where the same amount of liquid could be purchased with just an 80p deposit. This would result in the purchase of millions more plastic bottles - an unintended consequence we’ve been highlighting through our #MakeDRSWork campaign.

“It is also reassuring that the committee has identified the need to review the baseline data on recycling, an issue we highlighted in our evidence. I’m delighted that as well as the plastics issue, MSPs have also considered the potential health impacts of a flat rate deposit. I hope this very encouraging report translates into a final scheme that achieves its environmental ambitions and is fair for all.”