Scotland Announces 20p Bottle Return Scheme Deposit

Connector Spring 2019

The Scottish government has outlined its plans for a deposit return scheme for some plastic drinking containers, cans and glass. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said that a “return to retail” model would be adopted. She added that following an extensive consultation the deposit would be set at 20p (34 cents CAD).

The move is part of the government’s climate action plan. The minister said all retail outlets, regardless of size, would need to comply with the scheme. She explained that there had been a lot of discussion about whether to include glass in the plans. Ms Cunningham said it had been concluded that glass should be affected, despite some criticism from the glass industry. However, she added that HDPE-made plastic bottles, which are typically used to carry milk, would not be included. Containers made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) will be subject to the deposit return. The consumer will get their deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can to the retailer. The scheme will operate throughout Scotland, including rural areas. All types of drinks and all containers above 50ml and up to three litres in size are included.

As well as retailers and hospitality businesses, schools and other community hubs will be able to act as return locations. The government says an independent, privately-run, not-for-profit company will be in charge.  It adds that the system will be paid for through three sources of funding – unredeemed deposits, revenue from the sale of materials and a producer fee.

The Scottish government said it was planning to introduce legislation later in the year. Once the Scottish Parliament has passed the necessary regulations, there will be an implementation period of at least 12 months before the scheme is up and running. Scotland will likely be the first nation in the UK to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme.

Currently, a consultation is taking place in England with a deposit of about 15p being mooted.  Wales has been involved with the research being done for England. However, the Welsh government said it was already the third best place in the world for recycling, so it questioned whether a bottle deposit scheme would improve on that. In Northern Ireland, a deposit return scheme is also under consideration.

Source: BBC News