Plastic bottle refund scheme could mean millions for Scottish charities

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A call has been made to the Scottish Government to help charities cash in from its soon to be introduced plastic bottle refund system 

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8th September 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Millions of pounds could come to Scottish charities as a result of the introducation of a plastic bottle deposit scheme.

A call has been made for the Scottish Government to follow in the footsteps of Norway and Australia and introduce a scheme that will encourage the public to donate the proceeds from returned plastic bottles to charity.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the introducation of a bottle-return scheme in her Programme for Government this week.

The idea is to encourage people to recycle by placing machines in supermarket car parks that would give shoppers money back for emply plastic bottles and cans.

It will be funded by an increase in the price of bottled and canned drinks in shops across Scotland.

Charity Zero Waste Scotland said it could save £13 million in reducing waste and litter.

Now it's been claimed a similar amount could also be raised for Scottish charities through the programme.

John Mayhew, director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, said: "The Scottish depost return system won't just help beat litter and cut local councils' costs, it could also bring in a real bonanza for Scottish charities if the public are given an option to donate their returned deposits straight to charity.

"In Norway this money goes to the Red Cross and in South Australia it helps fund the Scouts.

"Here is Scotland, ministers could choose a single charity partner each year or they could set up a new fund to which all sorts of charities could apply. Either way, it's yet another benefit deposits could bring to Scottish society."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said ministers will consider the option.

"We have committed to designing a deposit return scheme over the coming year," she said. "We will continue to engage with stakeholders to introduce a system which is tailored to Scotland's specific needs.

"As part of this, we will consider how charities might benefit from a Scottish deposit return scheme."

Meanwhile, Tesco has been accused of withholding the proceeds of plastic bag charges from charities. 

The supermarket giant held back 10% of the £31.9m it made from customers paying for plastic bags in 2016 to cover administrative costs. 

After paying VAT, it donated just £23m to charity. However, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland all donated their full proceeds from the sale of the bags.

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