The Scottish Government has announced that it has commissioned detailed work to explore how a deposit return scheme might operate in the country.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed Zero Waste Scotland will investigate design options and the associated costs and benefits of how a scheme could operate. Options will then be put to the public for consultation before Scottish Ministers make a final decision.
Deposit return schemes see consumers pay a small deposit when buying drinks bottles, which is fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned. Germany, Finland and Norway are among 35 countries and states to have deposit return initiatives. In Norway, each 500ml drinks bottle has a deposit equivalent to 10p, with larger bottles carrying a 25p deposit. Figures show 96% of bottles are returned for recycling in the country, at which point consumers are repaid the fee.
Alongside this announcement, Zero Waste Scotland has also published findings from its evidence gathering, undertaken on the Scottish Government’s behalf. The report summarises the evidence, analysis, and stakeholder feedback collected as part of this process. The report specifically considers:
• Current recycling rates for items that might be targeted by a deposit system.
• The costs and benefits from a deposit system for local authority collection services.
• The potential anti-litter impacts of a deposit return system.
• How consumer behaviour might be expected to change in the presence of a deposit system, and the value of consumer’s contribution to a deposit return system.
• The costs and benefits for manufacturers and retailers from a deposit system.
• The potential impact of a deposit system on material quality and recyclate prices.
Defra has also announced that a working group set up to look at the feasibility of a bottle deposit return schemes, is to convene “very shortly”, with a report expected to be published next year. Defra minister Lord Gardiner said the Voluntary and Economic Measures Working Group, would “study the potential effectiveness of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers”.
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