Deposit return scheme proposal to cut plastic pollution

A new drive to get people ­recycling or switching to reusable products took a step forward yesterday with the launch of a consultation on a deposit return scheme for drinks containers to help cut plastic pollution.
Millions of single-use plastic bottles are thrown away every year.Millions of single-use plastic bottles are thrown away every year.
Millions of single-use plastic bottles are thrown away every year.

Environment Secretary Roseanne Cunningham announced the move after talks with environmental body Zero Waste Scotland.

Proposals put forward would see people pay a small deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container and get that money back when it is returned empty.

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The consultation on the proposed scheme – which ends on 25 September – will seek feedback on how much the deposit should be, where people could return items and what sort of materials and products should be included.

Around 2.5 billion single-use drinks containers are sold in Scotland every year.

Ms Cunningham said: “Publishing these options for a deposit return scheme is a significant step forward in our work to tackle plastic pollution and is another demonstration of our leadership on developing a circular economy.

“The consultation sets out that deposit return is not only an effective way of increasing recycling rates and preventing drinks containers from ending up as litter, but it is also an economic opportunity.

“A deposit return scheme will provide a new secure source of high quality material which will create opportunities to develop our recycling infrastructure in Scotland and create jobs.

“This will also improve the availability of recycled material for use in the production of bottles and cans in future.

“I would encourage everyone with an interest to provide their views on how this scheme can meet Scotland’s needs and help us tackle our throwaway culture.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said it was a “landmark” moment for the fight against plastic waste.

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“Scotland’s planned deposit return scheme is a landmark in the nation’s circular economy journey, with the potential to drive inward investment and create jobs in Scotland at the same time as improving recycling and reducing litter,” he said.

“Zero Waste Scotland has consulted with hundreds of organisations on deposit return to date – from retailers and manufacturers to councils and community groups – and we are delighted to see options progress to public consultation stage.”