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Call for UK wide deposit return scheme

Environment Secretary to urge UK Government to consider European style scheme.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead will meet his UK Government counterpart Liz Truss in London this week to discuss the potential for a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles and cans across the UK to reduce litter and improve recycling.

Mr Lochhead recently welcomed a report published by Zero Waste Scotland, which explored the role that such a scheme could play in reducing litter, complementing local authority recycling services, and improving the recycling of these materials and their value.

He will ask the Secretary of State to give this similar consideration in England, and is also writing to his counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland to invite them to do likewise.

Speaking ahead of his meeting with Ms Truss on Wednesday morning, Mr Lochhead said:

“A scheme like deposit return has the potential to be very beneficial for the environment – reducing litter and boosting the recycling of these materials and their economic value to our communities. As we have seen with carrier bag charging, attaching a value to something can be very effective in helping us make small but important changes.

“Countries such as Germany, Sweden and Norway already have such systems in place, as do parts of Canada, Australia and the United States. I have already made my intentions clear that I am keen to explore the opportunities for Scotland from deposit return and I will be highlighting Zero Waste Scotland’s study to Liz Truss when I meet her on Wednesday, inviting her to do the same in England.

“While in the first instance I am looking at the potential of a Scottish scheme, I believe there are merits in exploring a UK-wide system to identify scope to take advantage of scale and explore common benefits. Already, we are seeing support from environmental groups and members of the public for the idea and I await the additional evidence from industry and stakeholders in due course.”


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