Deposit return scheme could create jobs, says Roseanna Cunningham

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 24 January 2019 in News

 Environment Secretary used a visit to a Coca-Cola European Partners bottling plant in East Kilbride to promise to “bring forward the next steps on designing our deposit return scheme shortly”

Image credit: Scottish Government

Introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers could help reduce waste and create jobs, Roseanna Cunningham has said, ahead of a planned announcement on the scheme's design.

The Environment Secretary used a visit to a Coca-Cola European Partners bottling plant in East Kilbride to promise to “bring forward the next steps on designing our deposit return scheme shortly”, while suggesting a DRS could increase recycling rates and reduce litter, provide new sources of high quality material, develop recycling infrastructure and stimulate employment.

Plans to introduce a DRS for bottles and cans were included in the 2017/18 Programme for Government, with a public consultation on the initiative closed in September 2018.

Proposals for a DRS have received backing from both manufacturers and environmental groups, with MCS Scotland Conservation Officer, Catherine Gemmell calling on the rest of the UK to follow the Scottish Government’s lead.

She said: “Over the last 25 years, beach litter data collected by our volunteers has shown a rise in plastic and glass drinks bottles and metal cans on Scottish beaches.”

Gemmell added: “We hope the Scottish system will be world leading which we believe will result in a reduction in the amount of plastic, metal and glass found on Scottish beaches in the future, similar to the drop in single-use bags on beaches following the introduction of the 5p charge.”

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain, added: “At Coca-Cola European Partners we want to make sure all our packaging is recovered so more can be recycled and none ends up as litter. Deposit return schemes are a major change for shoppers, retailers and producers but we know that a well-designed deposit scheme can increase recycling and reduce the littering of beverage packaging in a way that works for everyone.

“Industry has a lot of experience of running successful deposit return schemes around the world and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to make sure we design a scheme that works for Scottish businesses and Scottish shoppers, and makes the biggest possible impact on littering and recycling.”

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