Scotland introduces scheme to recycle drink bottles

10 May 2019 (Last Updated May 10th, 2019 11:42)

The Scotland Government has introduced a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) to collect a £0.20 surcharge from customers buying drinks packed in aluminium and steel cans, as well as bottles made of glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.

Scotland introduces scheme to recycle drink bottles
Scotland has introduced a scheme to collect a £0.20 surcharge from customers buying drink bottles made of glass. Credit: Chris Yarzab / Flickr.

The Scotland Government has introduced a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) to collect a £0.20 surcharge from customers buying drinks packed in aluminium and steel cans, as well as bottles made of glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.

The scheme plans to combat climate change and will be accessible to customers at all retail outlets across the country.

As part of the scheme, customers need to pay the deposit for every drink bottle or can purchased. The £0.20 will be refunded after returning the bottle to any outlet.

Industry input and guidance with regard to the scheme’s interaction with consumers, producers, retailers and the hospitality industry will be offered by the DRS Implementation Advisory Group.

Scotland Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations.

“There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet.”

“I am therefore delighted to confirm that I intend to implement a system covering PET – the most common form of plastic packaging – aluminium and steel cans, and glass, with a deposit refund set at £0.20.”

Responding to the DRS, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association noted that the proposal will have an impact on people with the lowest incomes as they may find it harder to comply and recoup their deposits fees. They might struggle to engage in recycling.

Wine and Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: “Glass bottles are brittle and much heavier than plastic, and so we ask the Scottish Government, and those across the UK considering similar systems, to think about the practical difficulties of returning glass bottles, especially for groups such as the elderly, disabled and those on low incomes.”