Scotland to introduce ‘ambitious’ 20p bottle deposit scheme

The Scottish government has outlined plans for a deposit return scheme for some plastic drinking containers, cans and glass

The Scottish government has outlined plans for a deposit return scheme for some plastic drinking containers, cans and glass

People in Scotland will have to pay a 20p deposit on every bottle or drinks can they buy from shops under a new scheme unveiled by the Scottish government.

Glass and plastic bottles, as well as aluminium and steel drinks cans sold by any shop in Scotland will be covered by the deposit return scheme, the first national scheme of its kind in the UK.

Scotland’s environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations.

“I am therefore delighted to confirm that I intend to implement a system covering PET – the most common form of plastic packaging – aluminium and steel cans, and glass, with a deposit refund set at 20p.”

The scheme gives people a “clear and straightforward way to do their bit for the environment,” she suggested.

There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it

“Supported by international evidence, our plans are gathering pace with widespread consensus demonstrating that a well-run, appropriately-targeted scheme could improve the environment, change attitudes to recycling and litter, and support a more circular economy.”

In her refusal to exempt small shops from the scheme, Cunningham has drawn protests from some retailers. Small corner shops will lose shelf space in order to install return machines, say retailer groups, and will have to administrate refunds for purchases. They are likely to lobby for exemptions once draft legislation is published later this year.

The scheme is set to cover single use bottles, ranging from a 50ml whisky or vodka miniature to a three-litre bottle of cider. Every can or bottle in a multipack of beer, water or cola will also attract the 20p charge.

It will include online retailers too, with only restaurants and pubs selling drinks for consumption on the premises excluded.

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