The Packaging Recycling Group Scotland (PRGS) has rejected Scottish Government proposals for a Deposit Return System, saying the proposals “fail on nearly every practical level.”
The Scottish Government is exploring the role that a Deposit Return System (DRS) scheme could play in reducing waste and improving recycling rates in the country.
However, the PRGS has submitted evidence rejecting Scottish Government proposals for a DRS, detailing the lack of consultation with retailers, industry and consumers and reportedly demonstrating that it will “neither boost recycling nor reduce litter”.
Issues that have not been fully considered, according to the 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 current proposed scheme would create.
“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,” explained Jane Bickerstaffe, PRGS spokesperson.
“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.”
The Packaging Resource Commitment aims to help improve recycling and tackle litter in Scotland, which the PRGS says will exceed Government targets by 2025.
David Martin, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the Scottish Retail Consortium said: “DRS is a proposition that is bad for consumers, bad for business and bad for achieving our carbon reduction targets.”
Other areas of concern highlighted by the PRGS include the cost of the Reverse Vending Machines, suggested by the Scottish Government as the main refund mechanism, estimated, the Group says, to cost at least £32,000 each.
In addition, PRGS fears that a DRS will increase costs for retailers, industry and local authorities, cause inconvenience and create inefficiencies while costing consumers an additional £155 million per year, or £63.50 per household.
 An Evaluation of the Financial and Environmental Impact of changes to Recycling Systems in Scotland: including a Deposit Return Scheme” by ERM commissioned by Coca-Cola Enterprises, Feb 2013 - The report, it’s modelling and assumptions were peer reviewed by an independent environmental expert.