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February 22, 2019

Scottish public support bottle deposit return scheme

The Scottish government has announced the results of its three-month consultation into a bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) on Thursday.

By Deborah Williams

The Scottish government has announced the results of its three-month consultation into a bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) on Thursday.

More than 3,000 consultation responses were received, showing the Scottish public in favour of implementing a DRS and highlighting the support for a minimum deposit level of 15p.

Under a DRS, Scottish consumers would pay a deposit in addition to the product price. This would be refunded upon recycling at a nominated returns location.

The results, published by environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, also showed that the respondents preferred a ‘staged introduction’ of the scheme, starting with a limited group of materials before future expansion.

Norwegian sensor-based sorting solutions company TOMRA welcomed the announcement, with managing director of collection solutions Truls Haug saying: “It is fantastic to see the Scottish Government’s discussions on DRS gathering pace with the release of these consultation results. Based on our global experience we believe a DRS will help see the return of over 90% of drinks containers for recycling within just two years of the scheme being introduced in Scotland.

“In particular we welcome the findings that an overwhelming majority of respondents want to see a very broad range of materials included, with 90% wishing to see PET, cans and glass as part of a DRS for Scotland.

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“Furthermore 88% want an ‘all-in’ scheme rather that one limited to on-the-go and we are in full agreement.  A model with as few restrictions as possible, which is convenient and easy to use, will achieve the best return rates.

“The Scottish Government is already at the forefront when it comes to sustainability with its Circular Economy Strategy and a DRS is the perfect example of a working circular economy. The system safeguards material quality, ensuring containers can be recycled back into bottles and cans, reducing the reliance on the raw materials needed to make new ones, and waste ending up in landfills or in nature as litter.

“It is extremely encouraging to hear that an advisory group will meet as soon as next week to discuss implementation of these game-changing recommendations.”

TOMRA, which operates several DRS trials with UK retailers, has also welcomed the launch of a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) on the introduction of a DRS for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Haug said: “With one consultation complete for Scotland and another getting underway for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, positive steps are being taken to help turn off the tap of plastic pollution.”

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