Scottish Daily Mail

How DRS may mean you can’t buy a bottle of wine with your online shop

- By Tom Eden Deputy Scottish Political Editor

ONLINE shoppers could be unable to order drinks for delivery if Scotland’s ‘unworkable’ deposit return scheme goes ahead.

SNP and Green ministers want online retailers to collect empty bottles and cans from people’s homes as part of the scheme.

But business leaders yesterday warned that shops and supermarke­ts will be unable to comply with the ‘undelivera­ble’ takeback proposal and will instead stop selling cans and bottles to online shoppers.

Retailers fear the long-delayed scheme, spearheade­d by Scottish Green minister Lorna Slater, will be plunged into further turmoil because of the complex and ‘incredibly expensive’ plans.

A delay to the beleaguere­d scheme was announced last month, but businesses say there is still not enough time to create a working home collection scheme.

Scottish Retail Consortium deputy chairman ewan MacDonald-Russell said online retailers will need new, separate delivery vans and lorries to collect drink containers from people’s homes to prevent contaminat­ion of goods they are delivering.

he accused government ministers of having ‘ignored’ warnings about how impractica­l DRS will be and said retailers are considerin­g withdrawin­g from the Scottish market.

Mr MacDonald-Russell said: ‘Scottish ministers seem prepared to risk ending online drink sales in Scotland with their unworkable, unsustaina­ble and undelivera­ble ultimatum in the amended deposit return scheme regulation­s.

‘Grocery retailers have insisted for months they cannot deliver an online takeback solution in time for the new go-live date, while explaining the only way this can be delivered is through a centralise­d model.

‘Regrettabl­y, those valid concerns appear to have been ignored.

‘It is not economical­ly, environmen­tally or legally sustainabl­e for retailers to collect empty drinks containers from customer’s homes using their own vehicles.

‘In the absence of a centralise­d solution, larger retailers will now need to take very serious decisions about whether it’s possible to continue selling drinks online in Scotland after March next year.

‘Ironically, these proposals will make life harder for vulnerable consumers who may now lose the opportunit­y to have drinks delivered to their home.

‘These new regulation­s make delivering Scotland’s deposit return scheme successful­ly next March even less likely.’

Under the scheme, a 20p deposit will be added to all drinks in plastic or glass bottles and cans, which is refunded if customers return empty containers to retailers or other collection points.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘Scotland’s deposit return scheme will be a major part of our efforts to reduce littering, cut emissions and increase recycling.

‘In line with the polluter pays principle, the scheme is being delivered and funded by industry.’

‘Concerns have been ignored’

WHEN it comes to the Deposit Return Scheme, the Scottish Government seems on a mission to turn a calamity into a catastroph­e.

Ministers want to force retailers who deliver drinks to their customers to go back and collect the empty cans and bottles afterwards.

Retail bosses say the costs and logistics involved would be crippling. They warn that shops and supermarke­ts would have no option but to stop selling drinks for delivery.

Customers wanting to buy drinks would be forced back into their cars to make their purchases in person. So much for cutting emissions. Housebound Scots, for whom deliveries are a lifeline, would be left to fend for themselves.

The DRS enjoyed huge swathes of support at the outset. The SNP-Green coalition took all that good will and chucked it in the bin.

The minister responsibl­e, Lorna Slater, alienated businesses, embroiled herself in a row with Westminste­r, and saw the DRS delayed until next year. It takes a special kind of incompeten­ce for a Green minister to bungle a recycling scheme.

The DRS has been wrecked by this Government. It may well be unsalvagea­ble.

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