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Packaging sector in Scotland seeks industry-wide commitment

Companies and organisations across the food and drink supply chain in Scotland have called for a ministerial-led initiative to tackle litter and to boost recycling rates.

The Packaging Recycling Group Scotland (PRGS), with more than 30 representatives including Red Bull, Coca Cola, Recoup and Alupro, wants a 10-year scheme to be established immediately as Packaging Resource Commitment Scotland.

PRGS says the scheme should be directed by a steering group, possibly chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, including Government, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), PRGS and local authorities overseeing a number of workstreams to deliver increased recycling rates and to support anti-littering strategy and campaigns.

The group, which was established in October 2013, believes that recycling levels for cans, household plastic bottles and glass packaging containers could be raised from the current rate of 50% to 80% by 2025.

PRGS had earlier rejected proposals from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) for refundable cash deposits for recycling drinks bottles and cans, arguing that this would target only 4.3% of litter and the impact would be negligible.

The report from PRGS says: “We share the Scottish Government’s objectives on recycling and litter, and believe that our proposed Packaging Resource Commitment Scotland will be a more effective and proportionate means to help deliver those objectives than either a deposit-return scheme, or the Scottish Packaging Recovery Note option, both now being assessed in separate studies.

“There should be a particular focus on further innovative enhancements to the successful local authority recycling system”.

Jane Bickerstaffe_182

PRGS spokeswoman Jane Bickerstaffe, left, said: “We do not support the introduction of a deposit return system in Scotland and recommend alternative proposals to promote recycling, reduce waste and tackle litter, which we believe will be more effective.”

She said that Scotland needed to develop and improve its existing initiatives around recycling rather than creating new ones that could be expensive for both consumers and businesses.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead has backed the ZWS proposal: “A scheme like the deposit return has the potential to be very beneficial for the environment – reducing litter and boosting the recycling of these materials and their value.

“As we have seen with carrier bag charging, attaching a value to something can be very effective in helping us make small but important changes.”

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