Environment / Zero Waste Scotland hosts islands consultation on deposit return scheme

LOCAL retailers and council officials had a chance to voice their views on the new deposit return scheme, which is due to be introduced in April 2021.

The recycling scheme for drink cans, plastic and glass bottles will require people to pay an extra 20p deposit which will be returned once people take back the empty container for recycling.

The deposit return scheme is due to be introduced in 2021.

Deposit return schemes operate successfully in 45 countries around the globe, government agency Zero Waste Scotland said.

On Friday, around 15 people attended a three hour consultation workshop held by the agency, mainly to discuss specific island related issues such as remoteness and the fact that many communities are served by small country shops.

The meeting in the Shetland Museum was part of a series of visits to the Scottish islands to comply with the new requirement of producing islands impact assessments for any new legislation.


The issues raised by those participating were mainly around the logistics of collecting the empty containers as well as the additional cost of providing the service plus, potentially, investing into reverse vending machines (RVMs) that would process the returned bottles and tins.

The deposit return scheme project leader Stuart Murray said the draft legislation introducing this was open to consultation until 10 December.

“The deposit return scheme is ultimately an obligation on the producers of the packaging to take the packaging back for recycling. They have a number of obligations in the regulations, as do retailers,” Murray said.

“We are very keen for this scheme to work for all of Scotland. One of the obligations in the scheme is that if you sell a container you act as a return point, making it as easy as possible for everybody to return the containers.

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“The regulations don’t say how the material should be collected. First of all retailers will get a handling fee for facilitating the return of the containers and will cover the reasonable cost of the infrastructure required.

“There is also the option to collect via a reverse vending machine for those taking larger volumes. The machine vary in price and there are various specifications.

“It is a retailer’s decision as to what collection method they will use.”

Zero Waste Scotland expects the scheme once fully implemented to reduce emissions by the equivalent of around160,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The initiative should also result in 31,000 fewer plastic bottles being chucked away across Scotland every day.

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