DRS deposit return scheme plastic bottle

An announcement that handling fees for the forthcoming deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland are to be increased has been hailed as a victory by the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed).

Circularity Scotland, the body implementing DRS, originally proposed a handling fee of 3.55p per returned container for businesses using reverse vending machines. This has now been increased to 3.7p. The fee for manual handling of containers will remain unchanged at 2.69 per item.

Circularity Scotland said the return handling fee has been recalculated following feedback from industry and an independent assessment from PwC, which considered the impact of inflation and changes to the guidance around exemptions for return points announced by the Scottish government last year.

The Fed’s national deputy vice president Mo Razzaq – who runs a convenience store in Glasgow – has been involved in discussions with Circularity Scotland on behalf of the federation’s members in Scotland from the outset.

He said: “We welcome the fact that our representations to Circularity Scotland have been heard and that they have listened to our concerns regarding the proposed handling fee for retailers who install reverse vending machines.

“However, some smaller shops will not have the space for a machine and will have to store returned containers manually.

“With this in mind, and in the interests of fairness, we would like to see the manual handling fee increased accordingly and we will continue to press Circularity Scotland to do so.”