Fear that the bottle return system will not be ready before the August deadline

Empty plastic bottles

Empty plastic bottles

A leading trade body fears Scotland’s deposit system won’t be ready to go live by August.

The flagship initiative aims to encourage recycling through a 20 cent deposit on single-use bottles and cans.

But the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said its members, who must apply by March 1, have yet to see an operational blueprint.

The Scottish Government said it was working with industry to implement the scheme.

The CEO of Circularity Scotland, the newly created company that will manage the initiative, told BBC Scotland it would be ready for the August 16 launch date.

But Ewan MacDonald-Russell, deputy head of the SRC, urged ministers to provide clarity to his members by the end of the month.

Otherwise, he warned, consumers would face disruption, higher prices and less choice.

recycling Denmark

Automatic recycling machines like this can be found in every supermarket in Denmark

Mr MacDonald-Russell said: “Despite this huge investment, we are alarmed at the failure of the government and its approved agencies to provide the vital information retailers need to build a workable returns system.

“We’re already past the reasonable deadlines for this plan to land properly in August.”

After meeting with Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater on Tuesday, Mr MacDonald-Russell said the plan was in “last chance saloon”.

He added: “Unless the Scottish Government and its partners can deliver a full operational blueprint by the end of February, containing the key information retailers need to deliver the necessary infrastructure for DRS to succeed, we don’t believe the plan will be half way through. can start successfully. -August.”

He warned that the potential consequences would leave consumers with “a bewildering patchwork of approaches” that would make the recycling process “cumbersome”.

A woman chooses a single-serve drink from a supermarket shelf

Shoppers will be charged a refundable surcharge when purchasing single use drinks

Under the scheme, each Scottish-based producer will have to add 20 pence to every product they make before it is sold anywhere in the country.

It is then charged to the retailer, who in turn bills the consumer.

To recoup this money, people have to take the empty bottles or cans to a deposit machine in a supermarket or designated return point.

Dougal Sharp, founder of Innis & Gunn, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland program there would be an additional 10p to 20p per product administration fee associated with the scheme.

Added together, that could mean consumers will have to pay an extra £1.60 for a pack of four of the company’s craft beers and £4 for a pack of 10.

When asked why he had described the scheme as “extortion” by the Scottish Government, Mr Sharp said: “Without signing the producer agreement we can’t sell anything in Scotland. It’s that simple.

“But the big problem is that there is an obligation in the producer agreement that requires Innis & Gunn to pay significant amounts to Circularity Scotland in the event that the scheme does not start on August 16 this year.

“So it’s a case of ‘if you don’t sign up you can’t trade’ and ‘if you do sign up and we don’t launch you then you’re stuck for significant sums of money’.”

‘Eyes tears’

Mr Sharp described the sliding scale of commitments, which he said amounted to an unsecured loan, as “glamorous”.

For large companies, he said it ranged from £50,000 to £1.5m a month.

Mr Sharp said a “massive amount of infrastructure” was needed prior to launch, from recycling centers to vehicles.

He added: “We are concerned that the complexity of the scheme and the significant cost, both for producers and end-users, could jeopardize its success.”


All types of drinks and all containers over 50 ml and up to three liters are included in the scheme and money is refunded at the counter or by using a reverse machine

Justin Wingate of On Trade Scotland magazine told Good Morning Scotland that the extra cost would trickle down from the manufacturer to the consumer.

He also said there was uncertainty in the hospitality sector as to why there was such a push from Circularity Scotland and the Scottish Government to implement something that “they themselves have admitted they are not ready for and are not ready for “.

Mr. Wingate added that there is tremendous pressure on brands, locations and managers to implement the plan.

The topic has been hotly debated on social media and a wire by Edinburgh-based craft brewer Theo Barnes warned that smaller businesses would face major cash flow problems.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden also said companies have not received answers “to the most basic of questions”.

But David Harris, CEO of Circularity Scotland, said the responsibility for implementing the plan lay with producers.

Asked about the current launch plan, he told Good Morning Scotland: “The plan will be ready.”

Mr Harris described the initiative as “a very important piece of environmental infrastructure” that would impact small and large producers, as well as convenience stores and supermarkets.

He added: “We’re not saying it’s going to be perfect on day one, but we’re saying it’s going to be up and running in time.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We are committed to a pragmatic approach to implementation and to making the scheme more efficient and reducing costs.

“Ministers and officials meet regularly with industry and will continue to do so as we work together to make this plan a reality.”

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