MSPs issue a caution against'reckless' deposit return scheme launches


It would be "reckless," according to a group of MSPs, to implement a recycling program in August as scheduled.

Nicola Sturgeon received a letter from the cross-party group, which also includes SNP MSPs, expressing "extensive and wide-ranging concerns" about the project.

The Deposit Return Scheme places a 20p deposit on single-use beverage bottles and cans in an effort to increase recycling.

Critics of the industry worry that it will stifle trade, drive up costs, and limit options.

The 20p deposit will be returned to shoppers under the proposed plans when they return empty cans and bottles for recycling.

It is designed to boost recycling and decrease the quantity of cans and bottles thrown in the trash.

Former Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing and seasoned SNP MSP Christine Grahame both signed the letter.

Along with them are Brian Whittle and Maurice Golden of the Conservative Party, Claire Baker and Paul O'Kane of the Labour Party, and Liam McArthur of the Liberal Democrats.

The Scottish government review, according to their claims, "identified that the scheme cannot be made to operate as intended in August" and was published in December.

In their letter, they claimed that it would be reckless for the Scottish government to proceed with the scheme's introduction in August of this year given the "number and gravity of the defects identified by both that review and by industry.".

For the three materials covered by the DRS — PET plastic, glass bottles, and metal cans — the group urged Ms. Sturgeon to "instruct an urgent and entirely independent review of how best to improve recycling in Scotland.".

In an open letter to circular economy minister Lorna Slater, hundreds of influential businesspeople from the food, beverage, and hospitality sectors have already asked that the initiative be put on hold while changes are made.

However, Ms. Slater stated on Tuesday on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland that "Scotland's deposit return scheme is fully operational.". ".

"Our program is very similar to successful programs around the world that, as you say, increase recycling but also accomplish that really crucial task of reducing litter on our streets," she continued.

"Everyone has seen bottles, cans, and broken glass. The deposit return program is our response to the need to take action. ".

nicola sturgeon
It has been requested that the first minister reevaluate the plans.

Prior to the scheme's launch on August 16th, producers have until February 28 to register.

Ministers should think about holding off until the rest of the UK adopts a unified strategy, according to Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

However, deposit return is not expected to be implemented throughout the rest of the UK until October 2025.

The program's administrator, Circularity Scotland, stated that companies making drinks that adhere to the standards are "legally required to participate in the scheme.".

This covers all alcoholic beverages sold in Scotland in bottles or cans that are 50 milliliters to three liters in capacity.

About 600 small and medium-sized businesses have expressed concerns about the plan, according to the seven MSPs who wrote the letter, and many could be forced to close as a result of the regulations and costs.

Additionally, they cautioned Ms. Sturgeon that beverage companies might leave the Scottish market.

Since "the handling fees set do not cover their costs," the MSPs expressed concern that some companies may need to raise prices above the 20p deposit.

The letter expressed concern that this might have an impact on the most vulnerable members of society.

Additionally, the group warned that the program's environmental goals might backfire because it would require "possibly millions of additional van or lorry journeys to operate the proposed new collection system.".

A spokesman for the Scottish government stated: "On August 16 of this year, Scotland's deposit return scheme will go into effect and will hold producers accountable for recycling the bottles and cans they place on the market.

Similar programs are widespread in other European nations and have proven to be very effective in raising recycling rates, combating littering, and allaying public concerns about the effects of plastic and other waste on the environment. ".

The minister continued, "Scottish ministers continue to work with affected businesses to address outstanding concerns and ensure the scheme launches successfully. We understand that this is a big change, especially for smaller businesses.

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