SCOTTISH ministers have been accused of “shambolic planning” after it was revealed that individual food delivery workers will need to register as a “waste carrier” for the controversial deposit return scheme – costing them hundreds of pounds in fees and potential fines.

Union bosses have warned that workers for Deliveroo and other companies “will be left destitute by the costs and fines” required of the scheme.

Deliveroo and other food delivery workers are classed as self-employed, so will have to register as a waste carrier under the Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme.

Drivers and riders face a one-off £231 fee, along with £147 renewal fees – as well as hefty fines if they fail to register correctly as a waste carrier.

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The Scottish Government has delayed the rollout of its deposit return scheme – with the policy currently not set to launch until August next year.

The return scheme will lead to people paying a 20p deposit when they buy a drink that comes in a single-use container. They will get their money back when they return the empty container to one of tens of thousands of return points.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden asked Greens circular economy minister Lorna Slater whether food delivery drivers will be required to register with Sepa as a waste carrier.

In response, Ms Slater said: “Empty drink containers (scheme packaging) are waste and, therefore, subject to regulatory control.

“Any business that operates a takeback service should ensure that they, or their service provider, are authorised to carry and transport waste and are registered as a waste carrier.

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“A business only needs to hold one waste carriers licence – there is no need for each employee to register separately unless they are self-employed individuals.

“Further information and guidance on registering as a waste carrier is available from Sepa.”

In response, Mr Golden said: “A properly thought-through system would have addressed these problems from the outset.

“Instead, the SNP and Greens have presided over a shambolic planning approach that seems to be alarming almost everyone with a stake in this.

“Businesses across numerous sectors are already deeply concerned about the impact the nationalists’ DRS will have on their finances and ability to operate.”

He added: “Now we learn that independent delivery drivers – who have enough challenges to face – will have costly and complicated red tape to cut through.

“DRS has huge potential for environmental improvement and economic opportunity.

“As it stands, the Scottish Government is delivering on neither.”

Deliveroo drivers are represented by the GMB union.

GMB Scotland Organiser Paul McLaughlin said: “There’s a real risk that already precarious workers will be left destitute by the costs and fines associated with the Scottish Government’s deposit return scheme.

READ MORE: Lorna Slater lobbied by industry 48 hours before delaying deposit return scheme

“This is a race-to-the-bottom industry where people can be working excessive hours for poverty wages, particularly when platforms surge leaving workers fighting for orders.

"Many workers also speak little to no English and all probability, they will have no understanding of this legislation and the consequences of it, leaving them even more vulnerable to exploitation.

“In a worsening cost-of-living crisis, the reality is that this a totally unaffordable burden for workers that cannot be credibly enforced. The emphasis is now on the platform owners, government, and the wider food and retail sector to outline how precarious workers are not going to be unfairly punished by this legislation.”

It is understood that talks are being held between Deliveroo and the Scottish Government over whether riders will be subject to the fees.

The Herald understands that companies such as Deliveroo could provide the take-back service using their own bottles or pay a contractor to do it on their behalf.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: "Conversations with the Scottish Government are ongoing."


A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme will recycle billions of bottles and cans a year and forms a vital part of our plans to create a circular economy.

"Similar schemes have already proven successful in many European countries and we are confident that ours will deliver similar results.

“We recognise that this is a big change for many businesses and we are committed to working closely with Circularity Scotland and businesses to ensure that there are pragmatic approaches to implementation.

"We are considering measures to address industry’s concerns regarding online takeback and will make a further announcement soon.”