Scottish government commits to deposit return scheme for drinks bottles

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Nicola Sturgeon has committed the Scottish government to the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles.

The scheme will apply to plastic and glass bottles as well as aluminium cans.

Like many in the industry, David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez UK, welcomed the news.

He said: “A bottle deposit scheme, starting with plastic containers, is a practical first step towards more circular industrial practices.

“It is just one of the forms of government intervention our sector has been calling for, within a wider package of measures, to ensure that the UK’s emerging industrial strategy is a sustainable one.”

However Palmer-Jones argued these schemes can only go so far towards reaching a circular economy.

He added: “Fundamental progress in making the change towards a more circular economy can only happen if these schemes are part of a more strategically planned, integrated application of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime across all forms of resource usage, materials and packaging production.”

Willie Mackenzie, oceans expert at Green Peace, also welcomed the news as the next step in stopping plastic pollution.

He said: "With businesses and an overwhelming majority of the public in favour of deposit schemes, the Scottish Government now has a mandate to implement as robust a system as possible to help reduce plastic pollution. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the rest of the UK follows suit."

However Barr's, the makers of Irn Bru, have warned against the scheme, arguing it could create the possibility of cross-border trafficking of "deposit-bearing containers."

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