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Deposit return scheme could reduce plastic litter by 90%

This news post is almost 5 years old

The Scottish Government initiative will see shoppers pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks in single-use containers.

More than 30,000 discarded plastic bottles could disappear from Scotland’s streets, beaches and green spaces every day after a deposit return scheme goes live.

The Scottish Government initiative will see shoppers pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks purchased in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans.

They will then get their money back when they return the empty container for recycling.

New figures published by Zero Waste Scotland suggest the scheme will prevent more than 11 million plastic bottles being thrown away every year – equivalent to 31,000 each day.

The figures reveal that Scotland goes through 694 million plastic bottles every year, with nearly 12.5 million of these discarded as litter.

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that the 20p incentive will lead to a 90% reduction in people throwing away plastic bottles, meaning cleaner outdoor spaces and a reduction in plastic pollution in our seas.

Jill Farrell, Zero Waste Scotland’s chief operating officer said: “Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme is going to make people think twice about dropping their empty bottles.

“Our new figures reveal just how big a difference that will make in reducing litter all across Scotland. From our beaches to the parks in our cities, there will be fewer bottles and cans spoiling our beautiful country.

“Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will give people a 20p incentive to do the right thing with their empty bottles and cans – take them back for recycling, rather than risk them ending up on our streets or in our rivers.

“Litter isn’t just an eyesore – it also pollutes our environment and seas. And for every bottle littered, more plastic has to be created, generating more planet-damaging emissions. When you take back your empty bottles to be recycled, you’ll not just be getting your 20p back – you’ll be doing your bit in the fight against the climate emergency.”

Materials covered in the scheme include PET bottles, steel and aluminium cans and glass bottles. Legislation to enable the scheme is expected to be introduced by the Scottish Government later this year.

Further information on the deposit return scheme can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website.