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Truss urged to back UK-wide deposit return scheme

Environment secretary Liz Truss is to discuss a potential deposit return scheme for drinks bottles and cans across the UK when she meets her Scottish counterpart Richard Lochhead later this week.

As reported by MRW, Lochhead has backed a report from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) proposing a deposit of between 10p and 20p on top of the price of all drinks and containers that would be refunded to consumers when returned to a collection point.

He will ask Truss, right, to give this similar consideration in England, and is writing to his counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland to invite them to do likewise.

Lochhead said: “A scheme like deposit return has the potential to be very beneficial for the environment: reducing litter and boosting the recycling of these materials and their economic value to our communities. 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.

“Germany, Sweden and Norway already have such systems in place, as do parts of Canada, Australia and the US. I am keen to explore the opportunities for Scotland from deposit return and I will be highlighting ZWS’s study to Liz Truss when I meet her on Wednesday [3 June], inviting her to do the same in England.

“While in the first instance I am looking at the potential of a Scottish scheme, I believe there are merits in exploring a UK-wide system to identify scope to take advantage of scale and explore common benefits.

“We are seeing support from environmental groups and members of the public for the idea, and I await the additional evidence from industry and stakeholders in due course.”

However, when the ZWS report was published, Packaging Recycling Group Scotland said it would not support such a scheme.

Scotland introduced a compulsory 5p charge on carrier bags in October which led to an 80% fall in usage in the first six months after its introduction.

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