The Scottish Government having published the long awaited report on the feasibility of a deposit refund system (DRS) for beverage containers is now lobbying DEFRA to implement the programme throughout the UK.  Under the scheme consumers will be required to pay a deposit of 10p-20p on one way beverage packaging, not just cans and bottles (glass & plastic) but also cartons and possibly food which used cartons. The Scottish study highlights savings on litter as the key significant cost benefit. We believe the assumptions overstate the money that would be saved especially as the return rate has been estimated at 85% to 96%  higher than in other countries e.g. Denmark which has always had deposits is at the lower end of this range.

The imposition of a DRS in Scotland will have an impact on FPA members’ customers who will be faced with considerable administration charges as well as storage issues.

We are opposed to DRS because:

  • It establishes a precedent – drinks containers could eventually include cups
  • It is a major charge to foodservice operators and will involve them in additional administration and logistical issues
  • The cost of drinks contained within a pack will increase greatly in order to cover the costs of administering the scheme
  • It removes a profitable revenue stream to Local Authorities from kerbside collection (all affected containers now mandatory kerbside collection items in Scotland)
  • It is could be open to fraud (collecting containers in England and claiming deposits in Scotland)
  • A new labelling system will be needed
  • An alternative proposal has been developed by the Packaging Recovery Group Scotland (PRGS) of which the FPA is a member. This proposal proposes a collaborative approach and will achieve increases in recycling and reductions in litter.

The Scottish Government has begun a process of consultation and we would advise all FPA members and their customers to respond. David Perchard of Perchards the legal consultants to INCPEN has produced an excellent overview. which can be downloaded below.

Foodservice operators are concerned about DRS and the FPA will continue to lobby against this scheme and will work to promote the alternative PRGS proposal. The Packaging Recovery Group Scotland has produced a response which we would advise forms the basis of your own response. Specific issues for operators are:

Additional complexities in planning waste collections

  • The possibility of operators having to take back packaging and rebate deposits for packaging that doesn’t originate from them.
  • Independent operators will find themselves taking back packaging originating from national retailers with implications for cash flow and storage given limited space- is this fair?
  • The possibility of outlets having to install Reverse Vending Machines at a cost of £30,000 + £2,000 to install. Without a Reverse Vending Machine used packs have to be counted, then stored in bags awaiting collection to be taken to a central collections point.



Scotland Deposit Return System report Analysis of Scottish Deposit Return System Proposal