How the scheme is communicated so everyone understands it? (Question 22)
The success of a deposit return scheme will depend on customers understanding and using it. While the incentive of the deposit is intended to encourage customers to return the containers, this will only be effective if the customer knows the item carries a deposit. The approach taken by most European schemes is an on-pack label that includes a distinctive logo or mark that identifies the container as carrying a deposit.
The requirement for a deposit return-related labelling will impact on producers. If Scotland was part of a UK-wide approach this disruption would be minimised. There could be a case for producers who are only putting a small number of containers onto the Scottish market to be exempt from the system. This could also be resolved by the scheme providing labels that can be applied to goods that are being imported in small quantities.
There is also the issue of multi-buy packages, such as cans of soft drinks packaged together as each can within the pack may need some form of label as it will carry a deposit.
The Interim Equalities Impact Assessment highlighted the importance of clear branding and a recognisable logo to act as a visual prompt.
Beyond consumer information directly linked with the packaging, there will also be a need for marketing and branding at a national level to ensure that people are fully informed about the scheme. The scheme administrator will be expected to fund communications.
A consideration here is whether the scheme administrator should be required to dedicate a certain amount of its budget each year to marketing, or whether there should be a requirement to conduct marketing campaigns in response to a drop in performance.
It is important that any communications are as accessible as possible. Marketing should therefore have a heavy visual element and, for instance, symbols should be used on RVMs to explain how they operate.