Delay to Scottish DRS is welcome but technology is the answer

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The Recycling Association has said that the delay to implementation of the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is welcomed, but a digital DRS should be investigated first.

It has also suggested that if DRS were to be introduced in the UK, it should be consistent both in timing of implementation and the materials involved.

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The Recycling Association chief executive Paul Sanderson said: “Clearly, DRS has been a huge political issue in Scotland and it makes sense to delay to get the policy right.

“However, as an Association, we would prefer a digital DRS to be the primary option. Scanning bottles at home using a smart phone before putting it in the required recycling bin is more carbon efficient as it reduces vehicle journeys, and means some of the most valuable material isn’t cherry-picked out of kerbside collections.

“We believe that emphasis should be placed on developing digital DRS across the UK rather than spending millions on infrastructure for physical DRS.

“If Scotland, and the rest of the UK nations, are to go ahead with a more traditional form of DRS, then it should be consistently introduced across the UK. This would mean all UK nations commit to the same implementation date, most likely in 2025, and are consistent on whether glass is included or not. Scotland would benefit from a longer delay to ensure it matches the rest of the UK, and gives the opportunity for digital DRS to be investigated and developed fully.

“We are looking to introduce consistent kerbside collections in the UK, but we need to be consistent with DRS too. That consistency would also be made much easier and simpler through a digital DRS system where everybody has the option to receive their deposits without leaving their home.

“Making people return bottles to a reverse vending machine adds another layer of complexity when we should be focused on making the system as simple as possible.”