Make Scotland’s deposit return scheme more comprehensive

A report from the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has said that Scotland’s proposed deposit return scheme will have a real and lasting impact on tackling climate change.

The committee has now called on the Scottish Government to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to ensure that the scheme is accessible and available to all who need to use it, and also suggests that the minimum deposit rate of 20p should be set out in regulation. However, there should be flexibility to vary that rate upwards to support the delivery of environmental and social outcomes.

In terms of materials, the committee accepts that the scheme would focus initially on drinks containers, but is calling on the government to consider making the scheme as comprehensive as possible and introduce other materials such as cartons, pouches and other plastics in a phased way.

Gillian Martin, committee convenor, said: “There is no doubting the ambition behind the introduction of the deposit return scheme in Scotland. And it is clear from those we heard from across the country that there is support for the scheme and its aims to help meet the challenging climate change targets and address the problems of litter, particularly in our marine environment.

“But for this scheme to be effective, we need to ensure that this operates in a way that is understandable and easy to use for the public and businesses alike. We support the initial focus of the scheme but have today asked the government to ensure we can add materials to the scheme, in a phased way, so it is as wide-ranging as possible. We have also heard from many businesses about their concerns about how this will operate in practice. We believe the Scottish Government needs to listen to these concerns and we have asked for more information on the operation of the scheme before this is rolled out.”