Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme plan backed

The Scottish Government’s consultation on a deposit return scheme (DRS) has found a high level of support and marks the next big step forward towards creating Scotland’s deposit return scheme. 

The consultation gathered more than 3,000 responses from a wide range of organisations and individuals, testament to the interest that deposit return has generated among the public and stakeholders alike. The organisations comprised of public sector, food and drink producers, as well as environmental, conservation, food and health charities. 

The consultation found high levels of support for a scheme which includes the widest range of materials possible, with 45% of respondents agreeing that the scheme should include PET plastic containers, metal cans, glass containers, HDPE plastic containers, cartons and disposable cups. 

In addition, in terms of deposit more than half of all respondents signalled support for deposit levels between 15p and 20p. 

Despite the support for a DRS covering a wide range of materials; organisations were more likely to favour a scheme with limited set of materials- typically PET plastic, metal and/or glass. The reason cited was avoiding competition with existing local authority kerbside recycling schemes.

In addition, the analysis found that, the overall balance of opinion was “strongly opposed to a scheme limited to on the go products”. However, this was a mixed picture among organisations, with public sector bodies, recycling and waste management organisations and the hospitality trade being particularly supportive of an ‘on the go’ DRS. Those in favour of an ‘on the go’ scheme thought that this would avoid duplicating existing kerbside collections, the report states.

Overall, the consultation found there was widespread agreement amongst both organisations and individuals that a “well-run and appropriately targeted” DRS could provide opportunities in relation to improving the environment, changing people’s attitudes to recycling and littering, and building the circular economy.

There was also widespread agreement that deposit return should be seen as a form of ‘producer responsibility’.

The scheme has also been praised by Truls Haug, UK boss of Norwegian firm Tomra's deposit return business, said of the Scottish government plan: "I'm quite a fan of what they are presenting.

"I think if they act on what they have stated earlier, I believe this could be a leading example going forward."

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "They are one of the first states that focus on the recycling more than reducing littering.

"If you focus on recycling, the littering will automatically be reduced.

"But if you only focus on littering, that doesn't mean you recycle the material. 

"So I think they have the correct approach to a deposit return scheme."

Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme, and the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have now set out their own plans.

The Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced the publication at the International Marine Conference in Glasgow and also announced the establishment of an Implementation Advisory Group to advise on the implementation of the scheme.

You can find the full consultation analysis on the Scottish Government website.

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