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Scottish Government should consider including cartons and other plastics in plans for DRS

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Scottish Government should consider including cartons and other plastics in plans for DRS

The Scottish Government should consider including cartons, pouches and other plastics in plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS), MSPs have recommended.

Ministers have outlined proposals for a DRS covering plastic drinking containers, cans and glass, based on a deposit set at 20p, arguing it will increase trade, create jobs and secure new sources of high-quality materials.

But in a new report, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee found that although proposals for a DRS had broad support, there was still disagreement over which materials should be included, how it will operate and when it will come into effect.

The report identified a “strong business concern” about the inclusion of glass, alongside a “strong public desire to include glass in the scheme”.

MSPs on the committee backed plans for a 20p minimum deposit, set out in regulation, but recommended ministers provide flexibility to increase the rate to support the delivery of environmental and social outcomes.

The report also called for a single industry-led ‘scheme administrator’, made up of representatives from all parts of the supply chain, including small businesses, local authorities, wholesalers, producers, retailers, waste management, environmental campaigners and trade unions.

Committee convenor Gillian Martin MSP said: “There is no doubting the ambition behind the introduction of the deposit return scheme in Scotland. And it is clear from those we heard from across the country that there is support for the scheme and its aims to help meet the challenging climate change targets and address the problems of litter, particularly in our marine environment.

“But for this scheme to be effective, we need to ensure that this operates in a way that is understandable and easy to use for the public and businesses alike. We support the initial focus of the scheme but have today asked the government to ensure we can add materials to the scheme, in a phased way, so it is as wide-ranging as possible.

“We have also heard from many businesses about their concerns about how this will operate in practice. We believe the Scottish Government needs to listen to these concerns and we have asked for more information on the operation of the scheme before this is rolled out.”

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