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Scotland lays out options for deposit return scheme

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on setting up a deposit return scheme (DRS), which it said would “create a new secure resource of high-quality material”.

Scotland was the first UK nation to announce it would set up such a scheme. Around 2.5 billion single-use drinks containers a year are sold in Scotland, with just 50% being recycled.

scottish drs

scottish drs

The consultation asks for opinions on what materials should be included in a DRS, including plastic and glass bottles and metal containers.

It also asks for opinions on how the scheme should be paid for and how to prevent fraud.

An administrator will be appointed to oversee the system and make sure the “correct flow of money” runs between consumers, retailers and producers.

The Scottish Government said manufacturers wanted to increase the recycled content of their packaging but they were often “constrained” by the lack of available recyclate.

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham (pictured) said: “A DRS will provide a new secure source of high-quality material which will create opportunities to develop our recycling infrastructure in Scotland and create jobs. This will also improve the availability of recycled material for use in the production of bottles and cans in future.”

Defra has said it will launch its own consultation on a DRS for England this year.

In April, environment secretary Michael Gove said laws to set up a DRS in England will be drafted by 2020 and that the Government’s resources and waste strategy is scheduled for September this year.

Cunningham added: “We recognise there could be benefits from co-operation across the nations of the UK on the design of a DRS. I have therefore written to my counterparts in the other administrations to initiate a dialogue to ensure that we approach this in a way that benefits communities everywhere in the UK.”

In May, the Scottish Government set up an expert panel, led by Dame Sue Bruce, to look at tackling single-use materials such as disposable coffee cups and straws. It includes representatives from the waste industry, retail, public sector and academia. Plans for a DRS will be considered in conjunction with the panel’s recommendations.

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