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Council denied cash over DRS concerns

A council has been forced to tear up its planned changes to recycling services after Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) refused financial support, citing uncertainty about the country’s deposit return scheme (DRS).

Aberdeenshire Council had wanted to provide every household with a new bin for paper and card, and switch to three-weekly collections of each of the three bins, the other two being for other recyclates and residual waste.

Withdrawal of ZWS’s support means the additional bin will not be used.

Aberdeenshire had sought £3.2m from ZWS, but it decided not to provide this because of how Scotland’s proposed DRS might affect recyclates collected from homes.

Council infrastructure services committee chair Peter Argyle said: “Clearly the decision by ZWS not to consider our funding bid has had a negative effect on our well-developed plans to push up Aberdeenshire’s recycling rate and send less recyclable materials to landfill.”

He said the option now adopted “makes the most of a difficult situation and will help push up recycling rates”.

ZWS chief operating officer Jill Farrell said: “We are very supportive of Aberdeenshire Council’s ambition and vision to meet recycling targets.

“Scotland’s DRS will increase recycling levels for drinks bottles and cans, and this will change the mix and amounts of materials that local authorities collect.”

She said ZWS and the Scottish Government were in talks with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities about the impact of the scheme and of extended producer responsibility, and a review would take place with each council in which “Aberdeenshire Council will be one of the first priorities”.

The Scottish Government this month proposed a DRS offering 20p to customers returning glass, PET and aluminium drinks containers of all sizes to shops.

This provoked scepticism from aluminium packaging organisation Alupro and glass recyclers, who warned of “damaging consequences”.

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