Bottle deposit scheme to be introduced in Scotland / Move aims to reduce waste in landfills and environment
On 5 September 2017, the Scottish government announced it will roll out a deposit return system for drinks containers, ranging from plastic and glass bottles to aluminium and steel cans, although it has not revealed a date for its introduction. Research has suggested around 21m bottles end up in landfill or littering Scottish beaches and countryside, and Zero Waste Scotland (, the environmental body that has produced a report on creating deposit return schemes, welcomed the government’s move.

Zero Waste Scotland's chief executive, Iain Gulland, said, "By attaching a value to things we think of as waste, a deposit return scheme follows on from the hugely successful carrier bag charge, and will help reduce litter as well as increasing recycling." Scotland implemented a fee on single-use retail plastic bags in October 2014 (see of 23.10.2014).

In its report, Zero Waste Scotland said local authorities would stand to save between GBP 3m (EUR 3.3m) and GBP 6m on litter clearing costs, if it was introduced. The report also said consumers would return bottles as part of their current shopping routines, "provided the system is equally convenient." But it warned that some believe additional trips would be made to recoup deposits, and that this could have an adverse environmental impact, for example, if trips are made by car.

A 2015 study by Valpak (Stratford-upon-Avon / UK; on plastic packaging recycling in Scotland suggests the plastic bottle recycling rate for consumers was between 47% and 52% in 2013, with the total amount of plastic bottles placed on the market at 54,143 t. Zero Waste Scotland ran a number of pilot schemes in 2012 and 2013, two of which featured deposit returns. However, it said that while these were useful in providing evidence of consumers’ behaviours, they could not relate to what impact a national scheme will have in terms of the public’s approach. In the Scottish scheme, containers will carry an extra charge, which will be handed back to consumers when they return them to a collection point for recycling.
18.09.2017 987 [237901-0]
Published on 18.09.2017

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