FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The ACS has launched a DRS (deposit return scheme) Scotland guide providing a comprehensive overview of the scheme being introduced in August this year, as well as detailed guidance on how retailers should go about deciding what part they’ll play in its operation.

The deposit return scheme in Scotland will introduce a 20p deposit on PET Plastic, glass and metal single use containers between 50ml and 3ltrs. Consumers can get the deposit back when they return the containers to retailers, via a dedicated Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or through a manual returns process.

The ACS DRS guide outlines the areas that retailers need to consider when looking at whether to install an RVM in their store, do manual returns of containers, or apply for an exemption from the scheme altogether.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This guide is essential reading for any retailers in Scotland looking at their options when it comes to the introduction of the deposit return scheme later this year, and any suppliers who are looking for a clear explanation of the ins and outs of the scheme and the changes that will have to be made in stores to accommodate returns.

“I encourage all retailers in Scotland to utilise our guide to help their decision making and implementation process in the coming months. We know from previous changes in legislation that there can be a tendency to leave things to the last minute – it’s absolutely crucial that everyone starts preparing as soon as possible to ensure that they’re ready for August.”

The guide includes details on the following areas of the scheme:

  • How the scheme works and how deposits move through the supply chain;
  • How to make the decision about what kind of return point (if any) to provide for customers in store;
  • What retailers need to consider when processing returns manually;
  • What retailers need to consider when installing and maintaining a reverse vending machine (RVM);
  • How to collect and store containers away from the customer-facing areas of the store;
  • How to apply for a proximity exemption from the scheme;
  • How to apply for an environmental health exemption from the scheme.

The Scottish scheme is set to go live on August 16. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also announced plans for a deposit return scheme, coming into force in 2025.

ACS is currently consulting with the government on the appointment of a deposit management organisation (DMO) ahead of the introduction of the scheme.

The full DRS Scotland guide is available on the ACS website at https://www.acs.org.uk/advice/drs-scotland