Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Roseanna Cunningham announces Zero Waste Scotland to explore bottle deposit return scheme

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced that Zero Waste Scotland will investigate the possible design, cost and benefits of a deposit return system for Scotland (iStock)
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced that Zero Waste Scotland will investigate the possible design, cost and benefits of a deposit return system for Scotland (iStock)

WORK to explore the design of a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans has been commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced that Zero Waste Scotland will investigate the possible design, cost and benefits of a deposit return system for Scotland.

A public consultation on the options will be held before any decision is made on introducing a scheme for Scotland.

Under such schemes, shoppers would pay a deposit when buying products in cans and plastic or glass bottles, with the money refunded when they return the empty containers.

Campaigners have been urging ministers to introduce the measure in Scotland to help cut waste and increase recycling.

Ms Cunningham said: “I am grateful to Zero Waste Scotland for its work so far on deposit return and to everyone who provided evidence to help us better understand the benefits of deposit return for recycling and reducing litter, and potential impacts on retailers and local authorities.

“Clearly, there are a number of issues for the Scottish Government to consider when it comes to deposit return schemes that can only be addressed by carrying out work to understand the design of a potential system. I have asked Zero Waste Scotland to start this work.

“Progress will be overseen by a steering group involving representatives from the packaging industry, retailers and environmental groups, and followed by a full public consultation to ensure we are as well-informed as possible before any decisions are made.”

Jenni Hume, campaign manager for the Have You Got The Bottle campaign, which is run by Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, described the move as a “historic step in the right direction”.

She said: “This decision by Roseanna Cunningham will break the log-jam on this issue and today she will be cheered from the rooftops by a wide range of businesses and campaigners.

“Whether or not organisations are already persuaded that deposit return would work well for Scotland, as it does around the world, we can now look forward to a proper discussion about a Scotland-specific proposal.

“A lot of work will be required before a final decision, but this is absolutely the correct next step.

“If Scotland can take the lead here, as with the carrier-bag charge, we are very optimistic that England would follow and there’s also growing interest in Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Calum Duncan, head of the Scotland programme at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We are thrilled to see Roseanna Cunningham announce this decision today, which is the vital next step towards a decision on deposits.
“The Marine Conservation Society has long argued for a system of this sort, based on the evidence our dedicated volunteers collect every year of increasing plastic pollution on our beaches and in our seas.

“If a final decision is taken to adopt this approach in Scotland, we are confident that other parts of the UK will follow where Scotland leads.”

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, the Scottish Retail Consortium’s head of policy and external affairs, said the scheme was “unfair and outdated”.

He said: “We know consumers will be hit up front with a higher initial cost for every drinks container – a cost which is never recovered due to the necessity to buy further drinks.

“That cost is increased every time a customer is unable to return a drinks container to a store, which will add up to tens of millions each year.

“We know this scheme will be hugely expensive for retailers, costing tens of millions to install reverse vending machines, cannibalising profitable floor space for unprofitable waste machines, disrupting operations and hugely inconveniencing customers.”