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Drink container deposit scheme for Scotland?

Scotland – The Scottish government will continue to examine the case for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers despite heavy criticism from packaging producers who believe the measure would be ‘€˜costly and confusing’€™, has reported.

A feasibility study from Zero Waste Scotland has detailed what a Scottish system could look like while also assessing systems already operating in Denmark, Sweden and Australia. A total of 63 stakeholders answered the call for evidence, including AG Barr which produces Scotland’s iconic soft drink Irn Bru. The company has operated a deposit scheme for glass refillable bottles for 150 years and since 1953 the return rate has decreased from around 99% to 54%, resulting in the scheme being cancelled in late 2015.

Nevertheless, packaging compliance scheme Valpak has claimed that, based on an 80% total return rate for beverage containers, packaging recycling rates could increase from 57% to 59% if a return scheme were to be implemented.

‘The evidence gathered by Zero Waste Scotland highlights some of the potential benefits and concerns associated with a deposit return system for Scotland,’ comments environment secretary Richard Lochhead. He says he is ‘listening closely’ to industry players and will bear in mind implications for small businesses before reaching a decision.

‘Like carrier bag charging, deposit return schemes attach a value to items that can otherwise be viewed as waste, and have proven successful in other countries at reducing litter and increasing recycling,’ Lochhead observes.

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