UK ministers meet to discuss national bottle recycling scheme

Scotland bottle deposit scheme environmental secretary roseanna cunningham bottles plastic summit recycle london
Roseanne Cunningham - Scottish Environmental Secretary
05/07/2018 - 12:06
Today, ministers from across the UK have been invited to a summit hosted by Scottish environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham and rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon to discuss a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, The Times reports.

The summit held at Scotland House in London will assess a coordinated bottle return scheme that will cover all parts of the UK. Customers will pay a surcharge when they purchase a drink in a single-use container and will receive the money back when it is returned empty.

Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the plans in September 2017 for a deposit return scheme to be introduced in Scotland to tackle the increase in plastic waste. Scotland is the first part of the UK to announce a bottle return scheme. They are now leading the way to tackle what Cunningham describes is a “throwaway culture” in the UK.

The Scottish environment secretary stressed the importance of working together with all parts of the UK. She said: “This summit is an opportunity to work with the UK government and other devolved administrators to help maximise the benefits of deposit return schemes across the nations of the UK. Agreeing to a set of principles will ensure that we are all working to common objectives.”

Zero Waste Scotland, the resource efficiency organisation has been commissioned to investigate into the costs and design options of the scheme. The company claims this new approach will improve the quality of material collected for recycling, combat littering and prevent plastic and other materials polluting waters and countryside.

Deposit return schemes are used around the world to encourage people to recycle cans and bottles. The charge is added onto the drink when it is purchased, and the money is returned when the containers are taken back to collection points. Drop off points include taking the empty bottles back to shops or at dedicated drop-off points.

Environmental campaigners hope the UK will follow the 28 other counties around the world who operate a similar system. Germany tops the recycling charts with reportedly over 98% of bottles being taken to drop off points across the country.

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