The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed a report from the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee which has called for further clarity from the Scottish Government on the proposed regulations of a deposit return scheme.

The committee’s report acknowledged the key role that small retailers will play in delivering an effective deposit return scheme and is “keen to ensure that small retailers are not bearing a disproportionate burden of making DRS work”.

In the report, the committee makes a number of recommendations, including extending the implementation period beyond April 2021. The committee also suggested that the scheme administrator should have the scope for a ‘variable rate’ on the charge of bottles and cans within a deposit return scheme, for example based on product size.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The committee’s report reflects industry frustrations about the lack of clarity surrounding the implementation of deposit return scheme in Scotland. Local shops need certainty on how the scheme will operate, how they can apply for exemptions and if their staff will be required to manually accept soiled packaging in stores.

“We welcome the committee’s recommendation for the implementation period to be extended beyond April 2021 and for the scheme to be cost neutral for retailers. We urge the Scottish Government to consider strategically mapping the location of return points instead of requiring every high street and village retailer to accept returns.”

The report also welcomed the provision of exemptions from returns, calling on the Scottish Government to provide clarity on the criteria for exemptions.

ACS gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee on the proposed regulations highlighting the operational, cost and time pressures that the draft regulations would have on the colleagues in store.