Reverse Vending Scotland support for Deposit Return Scheme

70% Support Bottle Return Scheme in Scotland 

Reverse Vending at IKEA

IKEA Reverse Vending Machine gives 10p reward for each used IKEA drink can or bottle returned through a Reverse Vending Machine

ALMOST four out of five Scots back the introduction of a deposit refund system for drinks in bottles and cans, a survey has found.

The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) said Scottish ministers are now “looking positively” at such a scheme in a bid to increase recycling rates.

The Scottish Government already has the power to introduce such an initiative under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act of 2009 and APRS has now published polling showing 78.8 per cent are in favour of this.

While shoppers would have to pay a deposit when buying drinks in cans and bottles, this would be refunded to them when they returned their empty containers.

Results from pilot “reverse vending machines”, in which people put bottles and cans to obtain a refund,  in Edinburgh have been encouraging, according to APRS, while similar schemes are up and running in Denmark, Canada and Germany.

The research by Survation showed that 41.1 per cent of people are strongly in favour of such a scheme, with a further 37.7 per cent giving it “somewhat support”.

National deposit return systems already operate in many other countries, as a measure to improve recycling and cut litter. The systems see customers pay a small cash deposit when they buy a drink in a can or bottle, and get the money back when they return the item to a collection point. The items can then be recycled into new containers or other packaging.

Recycle and Reward , IKEA , Zero Waste Scotland , Reverse Vending ,

Thanks to trials from Zero Waste Scotland and IKEA you can get something back for recycling! Image courtesy of Reverse Vending Corporation

Only 3.3 per cent strongly oppose it, with a further 5.2 per cent being somewhat against the move, leaving 12.7 per cent who are neither for or against it.

APRS director John Mayhew said: “These results are a robust mandate for ministers to do the right thing and bring in a deposit refund system for Scotland.

“We know it works in other countries, tackling litter, reducing waste, boosting recycling and supporting good new jobs in the circular economy.

“We also know that the current approach means cans and bottles end up as landfill and litter, wasting resources, spoiling our environment on land and at sea, and forcing up costs to councils across Scotland.

“As with the carrier-bag charge, some in big business will complain about it in advance, even though it’s roughly cost-neutral, and as with the carrier-bag charge the evidence from elsewhere is that a deposit refund system will just work for Scotland.”

WWF Scotland director, Lang Banks said: “Deposit and return systems which encourage refilling and recycling have been shown to work successfully elsewhere, so it’s very encouraging to see the vast majority of Scots would welcome their introduction here.

“We currently live very wasteful lifestyles which in turn damages nature and our climate. And, if everyone in the world used the amount of resources we do, we would need three planets to survive.

“Therefore, reducing the amount of waste we produce coupled with achieving much higher levels of recycling is essential if Scotland is reduce its environmental and carbon footprints.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s research has assessed the benefits and challenges of a deposit return system in Scotland, gathering evidence from a range of key players including deposit return experts and operators in other countries; drinks companies and trade bodies; retailers and logistics companies.

The study explores the role that such a scheme could play in reducing litter, complementing local authority recycling services, and improving recyclate quality.  It also considers the potential costs of such a system. The study models what a Scottish system could look like, based on a comprehensive comparison of other systems operated across the globe.  The model included a deposit of between 10p and 20p per item, and covered all drinks and containers, including bottles, cans and cartons.

Image courtesy of Reverse Vending Corporation

Image courtesy of Reverse Vending Corporation

Today’s report is being launched in tandem with a call for evidence to industry and other stakeholders on the role of a deposit return system.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “It’s vital that we consider fresh approaches to boosting recycling rates and capturing the value of materials which would otherwise be sent straight to landfill. Through this pilot, we want to assess the impact of this approach which has proved successful around the world, including in Germany, South Australia and Scandinavia. It’s important we change the way people view waste in Scotland and we’ll be looking at how incentivising these recycling schemes impacts on recycling rates and complements other schemes designed to capture valuable materials, including kerbside, recycling centres and banks.”

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland,

“Scotland has set ambitious targets for moving towards zero waste, and we know that many drinks cans and bottles are not currently being recycled and may end up as very visible litter.

“Deposit return systems have been used in many other parts of the world to prevent waste and increase recycling.  So this new report, which assesses how such a scheme could work in Scotland, is an important contribution to the debate about how we achieve our zero waste goals and move towards a more circular economy.

“The research explores how a deposit return system could work in Scotland, and the issues to consider in designing and implementing a system.  That’s why we are also launching a call for evidence today to understand the impacts of such a system and how it could work most effectively.”

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

Reverse Vending BottleBill Project Scotland Reverse Vending Corporation

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead

“I welcome the work done by Zero Waste Scotland in putting together this study and report.  And I will be interested to see additional evidence from industry and stakeholders in due course.

“A scheme like the deposit return has the potential to be very beneficial for the environment – reducing litter and boosting the recycling of these materials and their value.  As we have seen with carrier bag charging, attaching a value to something can be very effective in helping us make small but important changes.

“Countries such as Germany, Sweden and Norway already have such systems in place as do parts of Canada, Australia and the United States.  I am keen to explore the opportunities for Scotland from deposit return and will be highlighting these studies with my counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to invite them to do likewise.”


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2 Responses to “Reverse Vending Scotland support for Deposit Return Scheme”

  1. Charity calls for 10p bottle deposit to reduce litter | Reverse Vending News Says:

    […] this year, a report for the Scottish government said there were no major obstacles to introducing a “deposit refund […]

  2. Environment Secretary announces next steps to explore opportunities of Deposit Return Scheme. | Reverse Vending News Says:

    […] Also See > >… […]

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