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Deposit return scheme predicted to take thousands of littered plastic bottles off Scotland’s streets every day

© GettyPost Thumbnail

New figures released today suggest that nearly 31,000 plastic bottles every day could vanish from Scotland’s streets, beaches and green spaces under the forthcoming Deposit Return Scheme.

Zero Waste Scotland say that each local authority in Scotland could see a dramatic reduction in litter when new legislation is introduced later this year.

Under the scheme, shoppers will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks purchased in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans.

People will get their money back when they return their empty container for recycling, incentivising them to think twice about littering.

The newly released figures also show that people in Scotland go through a staggering 694 million plastic bottles every year, with nearly 12.5 million of these discarded on the ground.

Under the deposit scheme, Zero Waste Scotland predict a reduction of more than 11 million plastic bottles littered every year.

With plastic bottles only one of the materials included in the scheme, the overall impact on litter is expected to be even higher.

Jill Farrell, Zero Waste Scotland Chief Operating Officer, said: “Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme is going to make people think twice about dropping their empty bottles.

“Our new figures reveal just how big a difference that will make in reducing litter all across Scotland. From our beaches to the parks in our cities, there will be fewer bottles and cans spoiling our beautiful country.”

She added: “Litter isn’t just an eyesore – it also pollutes our environment and seas. And for every bottle littered, more plastic has to be created, generating more planet-damaging emissions.

“When you take back your empty bottles to be recycled, you’ll not just be getting your 20p back – you’ll be doing your bit in the fight against the climate emergency.”

© Lenny Warren / Zero Waste Scotland
A reverse vending machine

Materials to be covered by the scheme include PET plastic bottles (like most fizzy drinks and water bottles), steel and aluminium cans and glass bottles.

All types of drinks in these containers and all containers above 50 ml and up to 3 litres in size are included.

Across Scotland, wherever people can buy a drink in a container made from one of these materials they will also be able to return it to reclaim the deposit.

Online retailers will also be included in the scheme, ensuring it’s accessible to people that are dependent on online delivery.

The Scottish Government is expected to introduce legislation to enable the scheme later this year.


For more information on Scotland’s deposit return scheme, including FAQs, visit: http://www.depositreturn.scot