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Islands tour will make sure recycling scheme works for all of Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland has today (Thursday 10 October) announced a series of events to present Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme to island communities across the country.

10 Oct 19

The events will give islands-based drinks producers, retailers, hospitality businesses, community representatives and other interested parties the chance to learn more about the recycling scheme for drinks cans and bottles, and to present an overview of how the scheme will work on Scotland’s islands.

Under the scheme, people will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks purchased in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans. People will get their money back when they return their empty container for recycling. 

The draft regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament in September include a target of capturing 90% of all scheme containers. Achieving that means making the scheme accessible and practical for everyone in Scotland. 

In addition to this series of engagement events, the Scottish Government will complete an Islands Impact Assessment to ensure that any significant unique impacts on island communities are captured and mitigated against.

The first event will take place on Islay on Tuesday 22 October, with a total of seven events which will reach all of the six local authorities that cover Scotland’s islands. A webinar will be held after the final event to give people that could not attend a chance to learn more about the scheme.  

Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“We want to make sure that Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme works for the whole of Scotland. That’s why we are going to be speaking with businesses and stakeholders in every islands local authority in Scotland.  

“From reducing litter to cutting Scotland’s CO2 emissions, this scheme will deliver fantastic environmental benefits, which islanders will benefit from. Making that happen requires the involvement of the whole country and the scheme needs to be accessible and practical for every community. 

“Delivering the scheme on Scotland’s islands will require a different approach to that in Scotland’s cities. We want to talk with businesses and stakeholders across the islands to make sure their views and needs are captured and addressed. From logistics and transport, to cash flow and tourism, we look forward to discussing how we can work together to deliver a world-class scheme.”

Alastair Nicolson, programme manager at Highlands & Islands Enterprise, said: 

“This is a very ambitious scheme that aims to make a real difference to people and communities in every part of Scotland.
“For the scheme to work effectively, different approaches will need to be worked out and applied. Models of recycling that work well in large towns and cities won’t necessarily bring about the desired results in rural areas, including islands and remote mainland communities.
“It’s great that the needs of islanders are being recognised at this early stage of the Deposit Return Scheme through this programme of events on the ground and online.”


Notes For Editors

Island Engagement Events

The events will be:

  • The Machrie Hotel, Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll & Bute: Tuesday 22 October.
  • The Orkney Hotel, Kirkwall, Orkney: Thursday 24 October.
  • Auchrannie Resort, Brodick, Arran, North Ayrshire: Friday 25 October.
  • Victoria Hotel, Rothesay, Bute, Argyll & Bute: Monday 28 October.
  • Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Lewis, Eilean Siar: Wednesday 30 October.
  • Aros, Portree, Skye, Highland: Friday 1 November.
  • Shetland Museum & Archives, Lerwick, Shetland: Friday 8 November.

All events will take place from 10am to 1pm except for the Isle of Arran event which will run from 12pm to 3pm. Click here to register via Eventbrite for one of the Island Engagement Events listed above.

A webinar will be hosted by Zero Waste Scotland following the events.

About Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

The following materials are covered by the scheme:

  • PET plastic (used for most fizzy drinks and water bottles)
  • Steel and aluminium
  • Glass 

All types of drinks in containers made of these materials of at least 50 ml (items such as whisky miniatures are 50ml) and up to 3 litres (such as a beer keg) in size are included.

The scheme is expected to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 4 million tonnes over 25 years, or an average of 160,000 tonnes of CO2e every year (news release).

Zero Waste Scotland has estimated that the scheme could reduce littering of plastic bottles by as much as 31,000 items per day across the country (news release).

YouGov polling commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland shows that nearly four in five people in Scotland support the introduction of the scheme (press release) and 85% of people in Scotland say glass bottles should be in the scheme (press release).

For more information on Scotland’s deposit return scheme, including FAQs, visit: depositreturn.scot


About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change.

Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy.

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.


For media enquiries contact:

Sophie Thirkell, Press Officer, Zero Waste Scotland

Mobile: 07966 284095

Email: sophie.thirkell@zerowastescotland.org.uk


Claire Munro, Communications Lead – Deposit Return Scheme, Zero Waste Scotland

Mobile: 07702 976594

Email: claire.munro@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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