UK News

Scottish Hospitality Firms’ Concern Over Bottle Deposit Return Scheme

Beer being poured from a brown bottle into a glass with a handle

An industry body representing UK hotels, bars and restaurants has expressed concern over plans to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme in Scotland.

The scheme for some plastic drinking containers, cans and glass, is part of the Scottish government’s climate action plan.

Under the plans, a 20p deposit will be added to the price of single-use drinks containers. All retail outlets, regardless of size, will need to comply and all types of drinks and all containers above 50ml and up to three litres in size are included.

The empty containers can be returned over the counter or by using a reverse vending machine.

But UKHospitality warned that hospitality venues could end up being over-burdened by the scheme.

The body’s executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod, said: “It is encouraging to see the proposed measures considering the difficulties that hospitality venues would face under an inflexible deposit return scheme, although we are still concerned about the scheme as a whole.

“Hospitality venues tend to operate in busy service environments where drinks are, by and large, bought for consumption on the premises. Drinks bought and sold in venues such as pubs, hotels, bars and restaurants are done so in a closed loop. The scheme does account for this and avoids the potential for businesses such as pubs, hotels or restaurants to be inundated with returns purchased in supermarkets or other shops.

“Although the scheme does provide some breathing room for hospitality, there is still the potential for it to be fraudulently exploited. Additionally, if Scotland-specific packaging is required to mitigate the potential for fraud, then customers could end up with much less choice and higher costs.

“The scheme in Scotland may be used as a model for the rest of the UK, but it is disappointing that we don’t already have a cohesive, UK-wide approach in place.”

The Scottish government aims to introduce legislation later in the year. Once it has passed, there will be an implementation period of at least 12 months before the scheme is up and running.

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