According to Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), a Scottish deposit return scheme will cut 160,000 tonnes from Scotland’s carbon footprint annually, helping to tackle the climate emergency.
This figure had been highlighted by ZWS to mark World Environment Day (5 June), the UN’s annual day to encourage awareness and action to protect the environment.
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Under Scotland’s deposit scheme, consumers will pay a 20p deposit when they buy a drink in a single use container and will get this back when they return the empty bottle to be recycled.
Similar schemes are available in Germany, Denmark and Lithuania, which have all already delivered recycling rates of 90% or more.
By gathering 90% of most types of single-use bottles and cans for recycling, Scotland’s scheme will reduce emissions by four million tonnes over the first 25 years of the scheme, said ZWS.
This figure is an average of around 160,00 tonnes of CO2eq annually.
ZWS chief executive Iain Gulland said: “Single-use items like bottles and cans are a real menace to our environment and Scotland’s deposit return scheme will be a great way of reducing that damage. Scotland’s scheme will collect a staggering 1.5 billion bottles and cans for recycling each year. That will cut the number of containers going to landfill and curb the need for new material, helping to take a dent out of the harmful emissions that are causing the climate emergency.
“From Blue Planet to school children on strike, people in Scotland have been inspired to take action to protect their environment and this will make doing that easier than ever. You’ll be able to return your empties to wherever you bought them from, making cutting your carbon footprint as easy as doing your weekly shop.”
Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition in our efforts to safeguard our planet for future generations. For the price of 20p per item, our ambitious deposit return scheme will recycle 1.5 billion single use drink items each year, removing the equivalent of 85,000 cars from our roads. This will make a huge difference in our efforts to tackle waste, improve recycling rates, and remove litter from our streets.”
Materials covered by the deposit return scheme include PET plastic bottles, steel and aluminium cans and glass bottles.
All types of drinks in these containers and all containers above 50ml and up to 3 litres in size are included