Publication - Consultation paper

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary

Summary of the Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland consultation paper.

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary
Where you will be able to get the deposit back? (Questions 14 to 16)

Where you will be able to get the deposit back? (Questions 14 to 16)

The return location, where people can return their containers and reclaim their deposit, is key to the success of a system. The two basic models (take back to a place of purchase and take back to a dedicated point) are at the heart of the four examples discussed later.

There are broadly three options for return location:

1. Take back to a place that sells drinks. This is where you would be able to take your drinks containers back to any shop that sells drinks in disposable containers. In return for providing this service, retailers would receive a handling fee, a sum of money paid for each container they take back. This option offers the widest coverage of return sites, making the system as accessible as possible for everyone and ensuring that as many items as possible are returned. The main consideration in relation to this option is the requirement it places on retailers in terms of storage and staff time for handling of containers. For sites that would require a RVM, the cost, location and maintenance of this would need to be considered.

2. Return to designated drop-off points. This is where items are returned to a central collection point, rather than there being lots of smaller ones in shops and public places. This would most often be a RVM, or a bank of them, in a centralised location. It could be located at a local waste disposal site. This option would minimise the impact on retailers, as their role in it would be to ensure the deposit is charged but they would not be required to take back items. As there would be fewer return points, it would likely mean the system would be less accessible, particularly in sparsely populated areas or for those who cannot take returnable containers any great distance.

3. A mixture of take back to a place of purchase and take back to a dedicated point. In this option, larger retailers in particular would be required to accept returns, probably through hosting automated RVMs. There would also be other return sites, perhaps in shopping centres or other civic amenities, operated by the system administrator. Smaller retailers would be expected to accept returns if there were no other return sites within a reasonable distance.

Online shopping

Online grocery shopping is a popular option for some consumers. Including online delivery vehicles as a return location would increase accessibility, particularly for those who are unable to access shops or other return points.

We will work with retailers and the system administrator to ensure those who shop online are not unfairly disadvantaged by the system. We are aware that a number of European systems already accommodate online shopping or are adapting their systems to do so and will therefore be able to learn from their experience and include measures from the outset of the scheme. One approach could be to require shops that provide delivery to take back items at the same time as delivering goods, with the refunds either being provided electronically or being taken off the next shopping bill.