Packaging Recycling Group Scotland rejects plans for a deposit return system


A proposed deposit return system for cans and bottles in Scotland fails on every level and ignores consumer behaviour, according to Packaging Recycling Group Scotland (PRGS).

The organisation, which represents a number of trade bodies, packaging companies and food and drink firms, has submitted its evidence rejecting Scottish Government proposals for a deposit return system.


It detailed the lack of consultation with retailers, industry and consumers and demonstrated its view that it will neither boost recycling nor reduce litter.

Issues that have not been considered according to PRGS are the growth in online shopping and home deliveries, high support for current local authority kerbside recycling, the carbon impact of additional transportation, loss of trading space to install recycling points and associated costs and the ultimate hit on the consumer wallet the proposed scheme would create.

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.

“Yet we are certain that the outcome will not deliver what is required and we ask them to consider our alternative Packaging Resource Commitment before taking on an inherently unworkable scheme.”

Scottish Retail Consortium head of policy & external affairs David Martin said: “As a time when household budgets are already under severe pressure and retailers are working incredibly hard to insulate consumers from higher prices, introducing a levy that will fall disproportionately on those on low incomes or with limited personal mobility is regressive and ill-conceived.

“The proposed deposit return system will place a wide range of costs on business and fails the Scottish Government’s own Better Regulation test, namely that regulations should be proportionate and well-targeted.

“The environmental progress 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.

“Deposit return system is a proposition that is bad for consumers, bad for business and bad for achieving our carbon reduction targets.”