Public backs ‘easy’ deposit return scheme

DRS: using an RVM

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) should be easy to understand, easy to use and easy to access, according to public opinion.

Over 3,000 people responded to the Scottish Government’s three-month-long consultation on deposit return.

Analysis of the responses published this week (21 February 2019) also revealed a broad consensus for a closer look at the impact and cost-benefits of DRS, with “lessons to be learned” from existing schemes. There were also calls for a comprehensive UK-wide approach to waste management.

More than half of all respondents suggested deposit levels of between 15p and 20p.

An advisory group plans to meet as early as next week to provide expertise and advice on implementation.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Work continues apace to finalise our proposals for deposit return and bring forward the necessary legislation to support its introduction.”

The UK, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments set out their own DRS plans this week. Cunningham said she would be happy to “explore how our respective schemes might usefully align in the future”.

Reverse vending company Tomra Collection Solutions welcomed the announcement. UK boss Truls Haug said: “Based on our global experience we believe a DRS will help see the return of over 90% of drinks containers for recycling within just two years of the scheme being introduced in Scotland.

“In particular we welcome the findings that an overwhelming majority of respondents want to see a very broad range of materials included, with 90% wishing to see PET, cans and glass as part of a DRS for Scotland.

“Furthermore 88% want an ‘all-in’ scheme rather that one limited to on-the-go and we are in full agreement. A model with as few restrictions as possible, which is convenient and easy to use, will achieve the best return rates.”

The news came a week after three SGF member stores launched reverse vending machine trials (pictured).