Islands tour will make sure recycling scheme works for all of Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland has begun a series of events to present Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme to island communities across the country.

The events will give islands-based drinks producers, retailers, hospitality businesses, community representatives and other interested parties the chance to learn more about the recycling scheme for drinks cans and bottles, and to present an overview of how the scheme will work on Scotland’s islands.

Under the scheme, people will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks purchased in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans. People will get their money back when they return their empty container for recycling.

The draft regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament in September include a target of capturing 90% of all scheme containers. Achieving that means making the scheme accessible and practical for everyone in Scotland.

In addition to this series of engagement events, the Scottish Government will complete an Islands Impact Assessment to ensure that any significant unique impacts on island communities are captured and mitigated against.

The first event took place on Islay on Tuesday 22 October, with a total of seven events which will reach all of the six local authorities that cover Scotland’s islands. A webinar will be held after the final event to give people that could not attend a chance to learn more about the scheme.

Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“We want to make sure that Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme works for the whole of Scotland. That’s why we are going to be speaking with businesses and stakeholders in every islands local authority in Scotland.

“From reducing litter to cutting Scotland’s CO2 emissions, this scheme will deliver fantastic environmental benefits, which islanders will benefit from. Making that happen requires the involvement of the whole country and the scheme needs to be accessible and practical for every community.

“Delivering the scheme on Scotland’s islands will require a different approach to that in Scotland’s cities. We want to talk with businesses and stakeholders across the islands to make sure their views and needs are captured and addressed. From logistics and transport, to cash flow and tourism, we look forward to discussing how we can work together to deliver a world-class scheme.”

Alastair Nicolson, programme manager at Highlands & Islands Enterprise, said:

“This is a very ambitious scheme that aims to make a real difference to people and communities in every part of Scotland.

“For the scheme to work effectively, different approaches will need to be worked out and applied. Models of recycling that work well in large towns and cities won’t necessarily bring about the desired results in rural areas, including islands and remote mainland communities.

“It’s great that the needs of islanders are being recognised at this early stage of the Deposit Return Scheme through this programme of events on the ground and online.”

The event came to Arran on 25th October and will continue onto Bute, Lewis and Skye, before finishing with an event in Shetland on 8th November.

About Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

Scotland will soon be the first part of the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. It will be available across all of Scotland and will make it easier for everyone to recycle their used bottles and cans, including all drinks sold in PET plastic (used for fizzy drinks and water bottles), metal and glass. All types of drinks in containers made of these materials of at least 50 ml (items such as whisky miniatures are 50ml) and up to 3 litres (such as a beer keg) in size are included.

The scheme is expected to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 4 million tonnes over 25 years, or an average of 160,000 tonnes of CO2e every year. Zero Waste Scotland has estimated that the scheme could reduce littering of plastic bottles by as much as 31,000 items per day across the country.

How will it work?
Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme has been designed to make it easy for us all to do the right thing. People pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

When will it start?
Legislation was laid in the Scottish Parliament in September 2019. Once these regulations are passed by the Scottish Parliament, which is expected to happen early next year, there will then be an implementation period of at least 12 months before the scheme starts.

For more information see the website on Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme