Scottish deposit return benefits outlined in new report

scottish deposit return
© iStock/ 22kay22

The Scottish government has published a comprehensive assessment of the benefits of implementing Scottish deposit return schemes.

The government is outlining proposals for a Scottish deposit return initiative which will see consumers pay a deposit of 20p (€0.22) on plastic, aluminium and glass drinks containers, to be paid back when they bring the empty container to be recycled. The analysis published this week, which examines the social and economic benefits of the proposed scheme, predicted that implementing the policy would save local authorities around £46m (€51.17m) per year in waste collection costs; with carbon savings comparable to taking 85,500 vehicles off the road.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme will not only be an effective way of increasing recycling rates and reducing litter, but also provide a major opportunity to secure a new source of high quality material, develop our recycling infrastructure and create jobs as part of our ambition to drive the circular economy. This is an opportunity for us all – industry, business and individuals – to transform our approach to production and use of raw materials and [to] consider the environmental impact of our actions as we continue on our journey towards becoming a net-zero society.”

A detailed implementation plan for the Scottish deposit return scheme is in development; while the government’s full impact assessments on the regulatory, equality and environmental implications of the scheme have been published on its website.

Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Putting a 20p deposit on bottles and cans places a value on the packaging and gives people an extra incentive to look after it. Because the glass, plastic and metals will be captured separately, the quality of the materials will be high, allowing them to be recycled over and over again. By turning bottles into more bottles and cans into more cans, we can get the best economic return on our resources and reduce the damaging emissions that are contributing to the global climate emergency.”

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