Councillors are calling on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to address concerns across Argyll and Bute communities, regarding the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
The scheme will require everyone who purchases a glass or plastic bottle or drinks can to pay a 20p deposit. This will be redeemable at point of purchase when they return their empty bottle or can.
The initiative was due to come into effect on 16th August but the Scottish Government has now delayed the launch for seven months, with a new date of March 2024.
Many businesses have expressed concerns that, if the scheme goes ahead, they will incur additional costs at a time when they are already under significant financial strain.
There are also potential cost implications for island and remote rural businesses including questions on how returned bottles and cans would be stored and transported to bulking stations.
In addition, there are concerns for secondary schools where bottled water, flavoured drinks and canned drinks are available to paying pupils and for young people entitled to a free school meal to purchase using their meal allowance.
Councillor Ross Moreland, Policy Lead, Climate Change and Environment Services, said: “We are supportive of any measures which help to reduce carbon emissions as we work together to become net zero by 2045. The Deposit Return Scheme has an important part to play in potentially reducing litter, increasing recycling rates and cutting waste.
“However, it’s clear that the scheme has considerable implications across Argyll and Bute for retail businesses, households, and pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who currently pay for meals.
“We believe that the Scottish Government must provide greater clarity on how it will operate and take steps to address the concerns which many of our businesses have about the practicalities of the scheme. We call on the Government to give careful consideration to the impact it will have on the wider community across Argyll and Bute.”