Deposit return scheme backed by three-quarters of Scots

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The scheme is expected to lead to 90% of bottles and cans being returned for recycling.

2nd September 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

More than three-quarters of Scots back a deposit return scheme on drinks containers, according to a new survey.

The scheme will see a 20p deposit placed on single-use bottles and cans, which will be refunded when the container is returned for recycling.

Experts say the initiative will lead to 90% of bottles and cans being returned, reducing litter and cutting Scotland’s CO2e emissions by an estimated 160,000 tonnes every year.

A YouGov survey commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland has now found that 77% of people in Scotland support the scheme, with 72% stating that helping the environment would be their major motivation.

A further 70% backed the scheme to reduce litter, while 61% said they would return containers simply to get the deposit back.

Figures published earlier this year revealed that Scotland goes through 694 million plastic bottles every year, with nearly 12.5 million of these discarded as litter. Zero Waste Scotland said this could be cut by a third once the scheme goes live, saving the public purse at least £46m in clean-up costs and reducing the wider negative impacts of litter on communities across Scotland.

Legislation to enable the scheme is expected to be introduced by the Scottish Government later this year.

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will make it easy for people to do something good for the environment.

“People in Scotland are more environmentally aware than ever before but it can be hard to know how to respond to something as monumental as the climate emergency at an individual level. This scheme will give them an action they can do week in and week out to help cut Scotland’s carbon footprint.

“By taking back your empty bottle or can, you won’t just get your 20p back. You’ll also be reducing the amount of raw materials that are used to make bottles and cans.

“That means you’ll be playing a part in Scotland’s response to the climate emergency every single time you take your bottle or can back to be recycled.”

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she was “pleased, but not surprised” to see the strength of public backing for the scheme.

She added: “We all – governments, businesses, communities and individuals – have a role to play in ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

“As well as giving everyone renewed incentive to reduce litter and tackling our throwaway culture, our ambitious Deposit Return Scheme will give the people of Scotland a simple yet effective way to help reduce carbon emissions, by reducing the volume of raw materials being used and instead supporting a thriving, circular economy.”