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Zero Waste Scotland to Investigate Deposit Return Design Options

Zero Waste Scotland has been asked to investigate design options for a Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, has announced (Friday 30th June 2017).

Deposit return schemes, in existence round the world, see consumers pay a small deposit that is fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned and, it’s believed, can reduce litter and increase recycling. 

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed Zero Waste Scotland will investigate design options and the associated costs and benefits of how a deposit return in scheme could operate in Scotland’s unique environment.  Options will then be put to the public for consultation before Ministers make a final decision.

Zero Waste Scotland today also publishes findings from its evidence gathering, undertaken on the Scottish Government’s behalf that identify which areas should be further investigated. 

The report summarises the evidence, analysis, and stakeholder feedback collected as part of this process.

It gathered evidence on key questions identified by the Scottish Government following its initial consultation on the merits of a deposit system.  Zero Waste Scotland conducted new analysis on some of these questions, as well as working closely with stakeholders to collect more detailed information.  The work published today is focused on these key questions, and is not a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of a deposit system.

The report specifically considers:

  • Current recycling rates for items that might be targeted by a deposit system
  • The costs and benefits from a deposit system for local authority collection services
  • The potential anti-litter impacts of a deposit return system
  • How consumer behaviour might be expected to change in the presence of a deposit system, and the value of consumer’s contribution to a deposit return system
  • The costs and benefits for manufacturers and retailers from a deposit system
  • The potential impact of a deposit system on material quality and recyclate prices” 
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