The Scottish government will study the feasibility of introducing deposit return schemes for drinks containers, noting they could represent around an £1m opportunity.
The schemes would involve adding a small deposit to the cost of bottles and cans that could be redeemed when the empty containers are returned, following the example of the Swedish recycling system.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead (top) said that such schemes could help turning Scotland’s litter problem in a resource. “At least half of littered items are suitable for recycling, such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans. This is around £1.2m worth of material every year,” he said.
“We want to encourage more Scots to recycle and, in turn, help deal with our litter problem, so it is right that we reflect on how this model could work in Scotland.”
The announcement followed the development of eight Recycle and Reward schemes that have been piloted across the country by Zero Waste Scotland, WRAP’s Scottish arm, since February. The pilots involve offering discount vouchers or donations to charity to customers that return drinks containers for recycling, but no deposit is added to the purchase of the drinks.
Companies and organisations including IKEA, Network Rail and three Scottish universities have been participating in the trials.
Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, welcomed the announcement of the launch of a feasibility study on the introduction of deposit return schemes. “Recycling is about keeping and re-using valuable materials and returning drinks containers is a simple step people could take to help make Scotland a zero waste society,” he said. “It could also play a part in making our country litter-free.”