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Bottles and cans deposit return scheme can create new jobs, minister says

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham provided an update while visiting a Coca-Cola bottling plant.

Roseanna Cunningham with (left) Coca Cola’s Nick Brown and Iain Gulland, of Zero Waste Scotland (Iain McLean/Scottish Government/PA)
Roseanna Cunningham with (left) Coca Cola’s Nick Brown and Iain Gulland, of Zero Waste Scotland (Iain McLean/Scottish Government/PA)

Scotland’s planned deposit return scheme for drinks containers could help boost jobs, the Environment Secretary has said.

Roseanna Cunningham said the Government would announce the next steps in the scheme’s design shortly as she visited a Coca-Cola bottling plant in East Kilbride.

Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans in her Programme for Government in September 2017, aiming to boost recycling by up to 2.5 billion containers and cut litter.

It involves customers paying a deposit on top of the price of a product and getting their money back when a container is recycled at a designated point of return.

A public consultation on the initiative closed in September 2018.

Ms Cunningham said: “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.

“A deposit return scheme as part of the wider circular economy will not only be an effective way of increasing recycling rates and reducing litter but also provide an opportunity to secure a new source of high quality material, develop our recycling infrastructure and create jobs as part of our ambition to drive the circular economy on our journey to carbon-neutrality.

“We will bring forward the next steps on designing our deposit return scheme shortly, which will complement our world-leading action on climate change, whilst we continue to maintain our environmental standards in the face of Brexit.”

Zero Waste Scotland is working on the design of the scheme.

Nick Brown, head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain said his firm wants to ensure “all our packaging is recovered so more can be recycled and none ends up as litter”.

He added: “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.”



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