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Quality at the heart of Scotland’s deposit return scheme

Scotland’s deposit return scheme won’t just be good for the environment – it will provide a great source of high-quality recycled materials for use here in Scotland.

Zero Waste Scotland Chief Executive Iain Gulland and Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham visited Coca-Cola European Partners’ bottling plant in East Kilbride to learn more about their operations and discuss the benefits of deposit return.

The Cabinet Secretary used the visit to restate Scotland’s commitment to bringing forward a deposit return scheme: “I am proud of the fact that Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme as we are determined to do all we can to prevent discarded drinks containers from ending up in our streets and seas.”

Deposit return won’t just will increase the quality of recycled materials collected in Scotland. By collecting more drinks containers here, we could recycle them back into items for the food and drinks industry – for example, plastic bottles being recycled to make new plastic bottles – rather than exporting them for other uses. This would be a benefit to industry based in Scotland, which has an increasing demand for recycled materials of high quality.

Zero Waste Scotland is currently working on the design of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. Chief Executive Iain Gulland says that one benefit of Scotland’s scheme will be the source of recycled materials: “There is an increasing demand for quality recycled content here in Scotland from businesses such as Coca Cola, and people don’t want to see plastics being used once and needlessly discarded. That’s why deposit return, which brings that material back to be used again, here in Scotland, is a win for both the environment and our economy.”

Deposit return will be a change for producers, but there are clear benefits. Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain: “At Coca-Cola European Partners we want to make sure all our packaging is recovered so more can be recycled and none ends up as litter. Deposit Return Schemes are a major change for shoppers, retailers and producers but we know that a well-designed deposit scheme can increase recycling and reduce the littering of beverage packaging in a way that works for everyone. Industry has a lot of experience of running successful Deposit Return Schemes around the world and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to make sure we design a scheme that works for Scottish businesses and Scottish shoppers, and makes the biggest possible impact on littering and recycling.”

The public consultation for a Scottish Deposit Return Scheme closed on 25 September 2018. The responses are currently being analysed by the Scottish Government, with the preferred final scheme design to be published in 2019. The consultation responses are being analysed by the Scottish Government, who will publish details of a final scheme design later this year.

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