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Deposit return scheme mooted in Scottish waste prevention plan

The possibility of introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers has been included in Scotland’s waste prevention plan.

Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead had previously expressed interest the system after a visit to Sweden, where deposit return schemes have been in place since 1984. The system consists of imposing fees on beverage packaging that consumers can redeem at bespoke collection facilities.

The proposal was included in the final version of Scotland’s waste prevention plan, Safeguarding Scottish Resources. Zero Waste Scotland will evaluate existing deposit return and reverse vending pilots and look at the feasibility of a national deposit return scheme, according to the document.

Lochhead reiterated his commitment to importing the system, which he described as an example of “international best practices”, during the Scottish Resource Conference held in Glasgow on 2-3 October.

Other measures included in the plan are:

  • increasing an existing fund for the development of mixed plastics capacity, the Scottish Plastics to Loan Fund, from £2.5m to £3.8m and considering widening its scope to other materials such as textile and WEEE
  • a requirement for retailers to charge for carrier bags usage from October 2014
  • encouraging the construction industry to adopt site waste management plans, without them being mandatory.


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