Uncertainty surrounds deposit return scheme amid exclusion of glass

Uncertainty surrounds deposit return scheme amid exclusion of glass

Scottish Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, is to reassess the feasibility of the nation’s deposit return scheme due to a Westminster decision to exclude glass from the initiative.

This scheme was slated for launch in March of next year. Ms Slater accuses the UK government of sabotaging the project, which would see a 20p deposit added to single-use cans and bottles, refundable upon return.

The Scottish plan differed from those of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, scheduled for an October launch. These divergences prompted Ms Slater to request an exemption from the Internal Markets Act to prevent the introduction of potential trade barriers.

The UK government partially approved the exemption, allowing only PET plastic, aluminium, and steel cans to be included in the scheme.

This decision aligns Scotland’s scheme with those proposed for England and Northern Ireland but contrasts with Wales, where glass is included. Westminster maintains that a UK-wide consistency will maximise recycling rates and reduce litter, while minimising disruption for the drinks industry and ensuring simplicity for consumers, the BBC reports.

Initially due to launch in Scotland in July last year, the scheme has faced delays due to concerns from businesses, including the British Soft Drinks Association and supermarket giant Tesco, who advocate for Scotland to join a UK-wide initiative in 2025.

Uncertainty over the scheme’s implementation has also caused issues for suppliers attempting to plan accordingly.

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