Readers' Letters: What was the point of the deposit return scheme?

With the Deposit Return Scheme now being delayed until October 2025, this is the ideal time to ask whether there is any point to it?
Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater delivers a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the deposit return scheme this week (Picture Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater delivers a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the deposit return scheme this week (Picture Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater delivers a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the deposit return scheme this week (Picture Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Local councils provide every household in Scotland with a partitioned waste service and commercial waste companies enforce waste partitioning and recycling on every business in the country. Why, then, should we have to pay a deposit and return cans and bottles to the retailer, when we can recycle them just as well at home or at work?

At one time milk and carbonated drinks came in glass bottles which were returned to be cleaned and refilled. Dairies and drinks firms stopped doing this because it was uneconomic. Without this refilling of bottles by the supplier, there is no logic to returning them to the retailer. The scheme puts substantial costs on businesses, which they will inevitably pass on to consumers. And we now learn that the recycled glass is likely to end up as low-value material being used in roads.

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It would appear that the only point to the deposit return scheme is to allow the Greens and other narcissistic politicians to give the impression of taking recycling seriously. The scheme should be cancelled.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife

No respect

The UK Tory Government does not respect devolution, nor Scotland’s long history, internationalist outlook and distinct social aspirations.

When all the propaganda fails to cover Britain’s decline and the poorest in society are compelled to manage even more of the financial burden of that deterioration, the Tory fall-back position is to promote cooperation with other political parties to cover their own ideological intransigence and to encourage the media to point the finger of blame at those parties. This is the same political party that is so strongly driven by dogma that in practice it refuses to have any meaningful discussions with other political parties, except as an absolute last resort.

The Scottish DRS bill, supported by all the political parties with the inclusion of glass, was passed before the UK Internal Market Act (which effectively superseded the “framework” that encouraged dialogue with the devolved governments), so the onus should have been on the UK Government to help find a way to accommodate the bill rather than effectively overrule it, on behalf of England, with a last-minute change to exclude glass from the DRS (contrary to the Tories’ own manifesto commitment).

Of course, with its refusal to accept “Scotland’s Place in Europe” as a basis for discussion on Brexit the writing was on the wall for devolution, never mind for an independence referendum in accordance with parliamentary democracy in Scotland.

Those who misguidedly thought that devolution could be a long-term governmental solution to meeting the ambitions of the people of the north must think again in the realisation that either they must support self-determination or accept that Scotland’s long history as an independent nation, which generations fought and died for, is to be irrevocably terminated and our children will be born into a broken union where they will have little or no say in a destiny which may be determined at the whim of their southern masters (or their loyal servants such as a de facto governor in the mould of Alister Jack).

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Time to abdicate

I doubt if Moray Council’s aim to promote “inclusion, diversity and acceptance” amongst very young children would be helped by having a drag queen read stories to them. You don’t have to be a bigot to question this new policy, as Green MSP Ross Greer accused Scottish Conservative Douglas Ross of being because of his objection (your report, 7 June). You can’t expect children under six years old to understand why a man telling them stories is dressed like a woman. This would be confusing for them, and I suspect that they would find it difficult to concentrate on the story, since they’d be trying to figure out why a pantomime character with which they were well acquainted had appeared in their classroom. I refer to the Dame of course.

Young children know the difference between fiction and reality. They are smarter than some adults, who should learn from the words which come out of the mouths of insightful babes. Remember the small child who pointed out that the emperor in Hans Anderson’s story was naked. The adults believed the weavers who told them that the king’s suit of clothes could only be seen by clever, competent people. Pride comes before a fall.

Carolyn Taylor, Wellbank, Dundee

Point of pact?

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It seems that Alex Salmond may be attempting to re-enter the political arena indirectly by suggesting that an electoral pact be formed between the SNP and his Alba Party.

But since Alba has only two MPs, both, incidentally, converts from the SNP; it might be construed that the benefits to the SNP would be negligible. And let's face it, the odds are against Salmond ever being re-elected to Parliament for a multitude of reasons.

The SNP reached its zenith some considerable time ago, and in recent months we have seen the exodus of quite a number of its key figures. Pressure is mounting on the party to provide answers to a multitude of questions about its overall administration, including the disappearance of publicly raised funds, and more especially, what advantages there would be in Scotland becoming independent of the UK?

To all of these points the electorate awaits answers with bated breath!

Robert I G Scott, Ceres, Fife

Lithium problem

It was a refreshing change to read Dr Richard Dixon's acknowledgement in his article "Material results of greener industry" that the grass is not necessarily always greener on the other side of the climate change fence (Scotsman, 7 June). However, it is surprising that it took a report from Friends of the Earth Scotland to highlight what many of us have already known regarding the devastating environmental and human costs involved in the sourcing of rare earths, lithium, cobalt etc, necessary for the manufacture of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles (EVs).

Some further detail may help to illustrate this more clearly. The current generation of lithium batteries that power EVs are manufactured principally from either hard rock spodumene in Australia or from salt brines in South America. In the first instance it requires 500 tonnes of ore to produce just one tonne of lithium, a process that emits a staggering 7,500 tonnes of CO2. Alternatively, if lithium is sourced from the salt flats of Chile where the rainfall is a scant 3.0mm per year, it requires 500,000 gallons (2,273,000 litres) of extremely precious water to produce a tonne of lithium. The supply of lithuim carbonate currently outstrips demand and is projected to increase by at least 500 per cent. At £33,000 per tonne investors are enjoying 400 per cent returns while Chile's chief exporter has earned a quarterly revenue of US$1.6 billion.

Contrary to Dr Dixon's desire to see fewer cars in the future it is projected that by 2040 there may 2 billion cars in the world, of which around four hundred million will be be EVs. This would replace just six per cent of petroleum demand and would not register any reduction in the global temperature. Although some materials may indeed be recycled there remains a massive unresolved question of end of use disposal to consider.

It is obvious that hydrocarbons are a finite resource but their high energy density means they will have to remain a vital component of transition for the foreseeable future. Instead of the massive subsidies that support dilute, unreliable energy technologies such as wind and solar, and the deluded promotion of EVs that all hide behind their zero emissions smokescreens, funding should be directed instead to basic, radical research and development.

Neil J Bryce, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Barnett bonus

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Mary Thomas (Letters, 7 June) is in standard SNP boasting form when she writes about “the very poorest families [in Scotland being] much better off than elsewhere in the UK”. She further boasts that “Scotland’s NHS is performing much better than the health service in England or Wales”. She does not, of course, provide evidence for her claims.

I doubt very much that most Scots care about how Scotland compares with England/UK. They will be much more concerned about the unprecedented and damaging waiting times that there are in Scotland for medical treatment, and especially for orthopaedic surgery. They will be shocked by the revelation that up to one in three children in Scotland is living in poverty, including 32 per cent in Glasgow and 29 per cent in North Ayrshire.

If Scotland does have, as Ms Thomas claims, more doctors, nurses and hospital beds per head of population than England or Wales, that is because Scots receive 20 per cent more UK government funding, thanks to the Barnett formula, than the UK average.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

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