Scotland plans bottle deposit scheme

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Following modelling by Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government plans to introduce a bottle deposit scheme.
Zero Waste Scotland has estimated that a scheme where consumers deposit bottles and cans could save local authorities between £3 million and £6 million per year just on litter clearance.

A call for evidence led to 63 submissions including from the likes of Coca-Cola, who support deposit schemes, as well as major supermarkets and Scottish environmental groups.

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Suez Recycling & Recovery UK chief executive David Palmer-Jones said: “We are delighted that the Scottish government is showing national leadership with plans for deposit scheme for plastic bottles. It shows encouraging and progressive leadership in reducing waste and litter.

“Suez backs UK-wide bottle return schemes – it makes not just environmental sense but, importantly, economic sense too – putting pounds in the pockets of both households and business through reduced waste disposal costs and reduced need to buy virgin raw materials. 

“This really is a win-win solution for the environment, manufacturers and ordinary households who are ready to help bring about change. 

“Plastics need to be re-used, not littering our streets, parks, riverbanks and coast lines. 

“While SUEZ supports deposit return schemes for plastic bottles, we believe fundamental progress in making the change towards a more circular economy can only happen if these schemes are part of a more strategically planned, integrated application of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime across all forms of resource usage, materials and packaging production and their collection, reuse and recycling across the supply chain. That level of strategic vision requires Government leadership. Businesses are showing willingness and the public is ready.

“A bottle deposit scheme, starting with plastic containers, is a practical first step towards more circular industrial practices and is just one of the forms of Government intervention our sector has been calling for, within a wider package of measures, to ensure that the UK’s emerging industrial strategy is a sustainable one. 

“The country has already made huge leaps in the past decade, shifting from a throw-away society to culture of re-use and recycling, but we can’t waste an opportunity to make further improvements.

“A bottle deposit scheme would help consumers and producers make the step-change required to reinvigorate the country’s stalling recycling performance and help us to unlock the value in packaging as a commodity, which can be put back into the supply chain rather than throwing it away.

“Following the implementation of the single use plastic bag charge, reports from seven major UK retailers show that they issued 83 per cent fewer bags in 2016/17 compared to the calendar year 2014, according to Defra. This is evidence of the potential of such initiatives to positively change both consumer and, consequently, producer behaviour.”