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Deposit return scheme delayed to 2022 to allow businesses time to deal with impact of coronavirus

Plastic bottles - Image credit: Fotolia

Deposit return scheme delayed to 2022 to allow businesses time to deal with impact of coronavirus

The introduction of a deposit return scheme in Scotland will be delayed until July 2022 to give businesses more time to prepare and allow them to focus on dealing with the effects of the coronavirus, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

Originally planned for April 2021, the scheme will allow for the return and reuse of plastic, metal and glass cans and bottles.

People will pay a deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

Regulations for the scheme have now been put before the Scottish Parliament.

Cunningham said: “Our deposit return scheme will be the first national scheme of its type operating in the UK.

“By including a wide range of materials, including glass, and setting a deposit of 20p, we are giving the people of Scotland a clear and straightforward way to do their bit for the environment.

“Having listened to the views of stakeholders, I have agreed to extend the ‘go-live’ date from April 2021 to July 2022.

“This will give businesses more time to prepare their premises for the scheme and crucially, provides flexibility in the immediate term as the whole country prepares to deal with COVID-19 – the impact of which continues to be closely monitored.

“One very important way of achieving our climate targets is in tackling throw-away culture and building a circular economy where our resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and our deposit return scheme is just one part of this.”

Scottish Labour environment spokesperson Claudia Beamish said: “Scottish Labour welcomes the laying of these regulations before the Scottish Parliament as the next step in the process to delivering a deposit return scheme for Scotland.

“Scottish Labour has long called for a scheme to further reduce the waste and litter that spoils our local areas and chokes our oceans.

 “I will scrutinise the development of the scheme administrator arrangements to ensure these are compatible with the just transition to net-zero, that they recognise the concerns of businesses and unions and facilitate Scottish manufacturing opportunities.”

Jill Farrell, chief operating officer at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Zero Waste Scotland is keen to see an ambitious scheme that will be an exemplar for the circular economy.

“Glass has been successfully incorporated into schemes abroad and including it in Scotland will help keep more carbon out of the atmosphere and more problematic litter off our streets.

“When the scheme goes live in two years, we believe that Scotland will be proud to lead the way.”

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