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Charity calls for National Litter Day to be introduced

This news post is 8 months old

Action to Protect Rural Scotland said the move could mark the missed targets of the deposit return scheme.

A Scottish countryside charity has called for August 16 to become Scotland’s annual national litter day. 

Action to Protect Rural Scotland has said that August 16, 2023 should be Scotland’s first annual National Litter Day, marking the day Scotland’s much-delayed deposit return system for cans and bottles should have finally come into effect.

Based on 2019 numbers, 920.2million drinks cans and bottles are wasted every year across Scotland, meaning more than 2.2billion items which would have been covered by a deposit system if it had begun when originally planned, on April 1, 2021.

The scheme has been delayed several times, but the date of August 16 2023 was announced at the end of 2021, before later being pushed back to March 2024.

The current earliest date that the scheme will come into effect is October 2025, following the UK Government’s refusal to allow glass in the scheme. 

Dr Kat Jones, director of Action to Protect Rural Scotland, said: “Every day, more than 2.5 million cans and bottles are wasted across Scotland, resources lost to landfill and incineration or abandoned in our environment. 

“Today should have been the day we started, as a society, to get on top of this problem via deposit return, but a combination of corporate lobbying, Westminster interference and Scottish Government timidity means it’s business as usual yet again.

“With that in mind, we think this date is a fitting day to mark Scotland’s first National Litter Day. A day when the lobbyists who sought to block Scotland’s deposit return scheme can congratulate themselves on the success of their campaign, while our communities and environment suffer another year with so much avoidable litter.

“Every day we fall further behind Europe on waste, litter and the circular economy. At any point UK Ministers could abandon their disruptive ban on the inclusion of glass, and at any point Scottish Ministers could bring in deposits on cans and plastic bottles. 

“If neither change their approach many more National Litter Days await Scotland’s towns, beaches and countryside.”

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater told STV News: “We want a Scotland that is free of the blight of litter.

“Our recently published litter and flytipping strategy sets out actions that will help make our streets, parks and public spaces free of rubbish.

“The UK Government’s 11th hour intervention left us no choice but to postpone the launch of Scotland’s deposit return scheme.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to the delivery of a successful deposit return scheme.

“However, the onus is now on the UK Government to provide the clarity that is needed for any scheme to move forward.”