SCOTLAND is to examine the introduction of a Swedish-style recycling scheme, which could increase the price of drinks bought in cans or plastic bottles.
Environment secretary Richard Lochhead is to look at the feasibility of a deposit refund scheme after watching it in action during a trip to the Scandinavian state.
It would create an incentive for consumers to return containers to retailers or collection points and limit the amount going to landfill. The Swedish system, introduced for cans in 1984 and extended to plastic bottles in 1994, adds a small deposit to the cost of drinks – refunded when the container is returned.
The scheme is said to achieve recycling rates of 85 per cent, generates materials to feed Sweden’s recycling industries and makes a huge contribution to tackling litter.
Price increases may be controversial, but Lochhead said it would help to tackle the problem of plastic bottles and cans littering communities.
He said: “The deposit refund scheme in Sweden is a great example of how a country has promoted the benefits of recycling into everyday life, while also having a positive impact on litter. The scheme has also created new industries and investment in jobs and skills to process these valuable materials – something I want to see emulated for Scotland’s economy.”
About 22,000 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles alone go to landfill in Scotland annually. If that was separated for recycling, it could be worth about £6 million to the economy.