BOTTLE RETURN SCHEME ‘IS TURNING INTO A CAR CRASH’

Deposit Return Scheme

By Bill Heaney

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden is worried that the bottle return scheme which the SNP government has agreed nto adopt is ‘turning into a car crash’.

He asked whether whether the government could provide an update on the progress that has been made on a deposit return scheme.

Green Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater,  right, gave him an assurance that it was not – and even a date for when it will begin.
Bringing back beer and lemonade bottles appears to be much more complicated than it was when people returned them to corner shops and ice cream vans.
Ms Slater told MSPs: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme will begin on 16 August 2023. Good progress has been made in recent months.
“That includes the scheme administrator signing contracts for its logistical and information technology services, the start of construction of the sorting centres and significant financial investment being made by the service providers and retailers, as well as there being £18 million loan funding from the Scottish National Investment Bank and the Bank of Scotland.
“With just under one year to go until the scheme goes live, businesses are preparing for launch and are working closely with the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, to ensure that they are ready.”
Maurice Golden replied: “The minister and I both want deposit return to succeed, but industry is worried that the scheme is turning into a car crash.
“Its concerns are mounting about the huge costs of the scheme; about labelling and point of sale not being clarified; about an online take-back system that is impossible to deliver as planned; about the complete lack of information on collection services; about the risk of dealing with broken glass; about product lines being withdrawn; and about the utter lack of central guidance from the Scottish Government or the secretive company that it has created.
“Will the minister publish the latest gateway review from May and accept that action must be taken before it is too late?”
Lorna Slatersaid: “We are now looking at the scheme’s operational details and are engaging very closely with industry, stakeholders, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, local authorities and Circularity Scotland.
“We are at the stage of working out exactly the details. The legislation that the Parliament passed is quite broad, which means that industry has the opportunity to adapt the scheme to its specific needs.

“That is the stage that we are at. We are making the scheme work for industry and we are doing that by working closely with it. I am very confident that the scheme will be a success and that it will launch on 16 August next year.”

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