We’ve been keeping a close eye on the progress of the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland since the devolved Government first proposed the scheme in 2021.
We took part in the consultation and outlined as best we could the potential difficulties small beverage producers like Carnival would face if the scheme was designed to fit the agenda of large multinationals, supermarkets and larger retailers with little attention paid to the SME sector.
When the scheme’s outcomes and timescales were announced in December 2021, we were left speechless at the proposed complexity, costs and limitations of the scheme. Luckily, the original go-live date was delayed due to huge issues with its practicality and costs.
The DRS has come at a time when small manufacturers like Carnival and others across the UK are facing their biggest challenges – I won’t relitigate the issues we continue to face as we all know them by now. However, the scheme being implemented with Circularity Scotland will first of all create a segregated UK market – where producers cease distributing north of the border. This will lead to a total collapse of independent retail, massive reduction in back-of-bar options for pubs, bars and restaurants, and ultimately a reduction in consumer choice. Second, it will lead to closure of many manufacturing businesses who rely on their local market supply chain, as most breweries do. The result – a decimated small drinks sector, unemployment and a failed scheme.
This blog piece isn’t written to pull apart the idea of recycling and to reduce the amount of waste unnecessarily going into landfill. We all want to make this work. It’s my way of informing customers who buy our beer north of the border that, with the DRS in its current format, from August we will cease to send cans up to Scotland. We hope to continue supplying our wonderful customers with keg and cask, but our small pack offer has to be removed from the market from August.
We hope that Lorna Slater MSP and her colleagues in Holyrood start listening seriously to the concerns of their constituents and put the scheme on hold until proper, meaningful consultation with small business is concluded and the scheme is adjusted to take into account our needs. SIBA has already made a public statement about this too and we hope changes are made, otherwise we fear many good businesses and the people who run and work within them will lose everything.
If you’re a retailer in Scotland and wish to discuss how we can work together in the future, please get in touch.
Our next job as a sector is to make sure that when a scheme is introduced across the rest of the UK, these mistakes aren’t repeated and we have a recycling system that works for everyone.
Check out some of our other posts