Scotland Confrims DRS Plan for Bottles and Cans

The Scottish Government has confirmed its plans for the introduction of a deposit return scheme for plastic drinks bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles.

Under the proposed DRS system, which would come into effect from 2020, consumers would pay a 20p deposit upon the purchase of a drink at a retailer, which can then be recouped when the packaging is returned for recycling.

Scotland is the first UK administration to outline its proposals for a DRS – with an ongoing consultation on the introduction of the measure in England, Wales and Northern Ireland due to close this week. Ministers will then consider the wider introduction and design of a DRS elsewhere in the UK.

Announcing the details in May, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme as part of our wider efforts to prevent discarded drinks containers from ending up in our streets and seas, and is now the first to outline its design – one that is ambitious in scale and scope, and which gives the people of Scotland a clear and straightforward way to do their bit for the environment.”

The measure, while seen as having the potential to combat littering and potentially boost recycling of drinks packaging, is not without its opponents, with some questioning the financial cost of a DRS and whether this outweighs the benefits of the scheme.

The Institute of Economic Affairs is among those to have questioned the merits of a DRS, and has suggested that setting up a DRS in the UK is a “very expensive way of achieving very little” and could lead to local authorities losing out on revenue.

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