An influential committee of Scottish MSPs has acknowledged that convenience retailers do not have the space to facilitate a deposit return scheme (DRS).

The report by the Environmental Sub Group in the Scottish Parliament has identified that one of the central barriers to a deposit return scheme is the “lack of space for DRS collection facilities in smaller shops or independent retailers”.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased that the committee has acknowledged one of the significant challenges that DRS present for retailers. Our most recent polling has suggested that 71% either simply do not have space in their stores for a deposit return scheme, or would have to make changes to their stores to make space. We will continue to make the case for an effective litter strategy which focuses on making the most of existing kerbside recycling facilities.”

Scottish Grocers Federation chief executive Pete Cheema said: “The committee is right to focus primarily on the wider context of waste generation and disposal rather than on deposit and return specifically. DRS is not the right solution for Scotland – investing in kerbside is best for retailers, consumers and the environment.”

The report identified a number of other barriers and raised questions such as:

• The volume of recycling in each of the 32 local authorities varies, realistically is there enough packaging in the litter stream?

• Is it sustainable to make DRS available option in cost and waste management?

• The quality of recyclable material must be to a high standard for DRS to be profitable and sustainable. Current plastics market shows that due to cross contamination 30-40% plastic packaging is unusable material.