Support for ‘easy to use’ bottle deposit scheme in Scotland, analysis suggests

Any deposit return scheme for drinks containers in Scotland must be “easy to use and accessible”, public analysis has suggested.

A Scottish Government consultation on the proposals also indicated support for a minimum deposit level of 15p.

Under such a system, customers would pay a deposit on top of the price of a product, which is then refunded when the item is recycled at a designated point of return.

Similar schemes are common across Europe, with some countries achieving recycling rates of 95% compared to 50% in Scotland.

More than 3,000 individuals responded to the consultation, which included the views of consumers, businesses and manufacturers.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the analysis provides evidence of backing for a “well-run, and appropriately targeted, deposit return scheme”.

Ms Cunningham also indicated that an implementation advisory group would meet next week to provide expertise and advice on implementating the scheme.

“It is extremely welcome that the consultation signalled support for a model which is ambitious in scope and with a minimum deposit in excess of 15p,” said the Environment Secretary.

“Work continues apace to finalise our proposals for deposit return and bring forward the necessary legislation to support its introduction.

“An implementation advisory group will play a critical role as we translate our proposals into an efficient, operational solution.

“Earlier this week the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments set out their own plans for deposit return and, should their ambitions match our own, I would be happy to explore how our respective schemes might usefully align in the future.

“The very fact that the launch of that consultation coincides with publication of our analysis is a clear demonstration that we continue to lead the way in this area and I am committed to ensuring this remains the case.”

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “People are keen to minimise their impact on the environment, especially after the widespread concern around plastics in our oceans.

“Scotland’s deposit return scheme will help keep plastics, and other single-use containers, out of our waters and off our streets.

“Countries with effective deposit return schemes are achieving capture rates of 90% and above for drinks containers and we want Scotland to emulate that success.

“We are advising the Scottish Government to help them design the best possible scheme, reflecting the findings of this consultation and Scotland’s unique characteristics, while building on the experiences of countries that have already made a success of deposit return.”