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Environment / How deposit return scheme will work in Shetland still unclear, council says

THERE has been “very little communication” about how the Scottish Government’s controversial deposit return scheme will work in areas like Shetland, according to the council.

A report presented to Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee on Tuesday said initial discussions with main contractor Biffa suggest there has been “very little planning done so far”.

Committee chair councillor Moraig Lyall also stressed the importance to have a scheme which is appropriate for a place like Shetland.

She also issued concern about the prospect of the scheme potentially undermining existing recycling efforts.

The Scottish Government has increasingly come under fire for its proposed deposit return scheme, which is due to start in August.

A deposit of 20 pence would be added to single-use drinks containers, including those made of plastic, aluminium and glass.

The customer can get their 20 pence back by returning the empty container for recycling.

The scheme, which has already been delayed, aims to improve recycling rates, increase the quality of recycling materials and reducing litter.

But drinks producers, especially small businesses, have expressed serious concern over the impact it may have on the sector.

Shetland Reel, which is best known for producing gin, previously said the scheme could increase administration costs and potentially impact sales outside of Scotland.

Unst gin producer adds to concern over deposit return scheme

The report presented to councillors on Tuesday said: “Unfortunately there has been very little communication from the scheme administrators, Circularity Scotland, about how this will work in remote isles.

“Discussions are ongoing to establish how this will operate in Shetland, and whether the SIC will have any role to play in the transporting of recycled materials from the scheme.

“Initial discussions with Biffa, who have been appointed main contractors for the scheme, suggest there has been very little planning done so far, which is a concern when the scheme is due to roll out in five months’ time.”

Scottish circular economy minster Lorna Slater previously said: “Our scheme is very similar to successful schemes around the world that do increase recycling but also reduce litter on our streets.

“We’ve got to do something about it and the deposit return scheme is our answer to that.”

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