Deposit return and litter
It is unfortunate that the debate around DRS has become so polarised. We have maintained a pragmatic position on the possible introduction of a DRS and are keen to ensure that, whatever solution is put in place, it delivers the best possible outcome for Scotland.
In the event that a decision is taken to implement a DRS for Scotland, we will positively engage with the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, our local authorities, industry and other key stakeholders to ensure that any proposed system is designed and implemented effectively. As Scotland’s leading anti-litter organisation, we would also seek to play a meaningful role in engaging with partners to help with the roll out of any proposed system.
However, we believe that any DRS for Scotland should be collaboratively designed to involve all key stakeholders to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved. This process should include a robust cost benefit analysis as well as ensuring any DRS effectively integrates with other waste management, recycling and litter services, interventions and activities.
We recognise that introducing a DRS scheme could lead to an increase in recycling rates and potentially reduce the volume of aluminium and plastic in the litter stream. The economic, social and environmental benefits are obvious and could be significant. However, we believes that a DRS in itself will not address fully Scotland’s wider litter challenge.
There is no evidence to suggest it will lead to a decrease in the littering of items such as food on the go packaging, cigarettes, coffee cups, chewing gum, confectionary wrappers and drinks cartons.
So, although a DRS could play an important role in assisting with the reduction of littering of plastic and aluminium there are many other interventions and solutions that need to be considered alongside it to ensure the impact on litter is more significant.
DRS will not be the ‘silver bullet’ that solves Scotland’s litter problem. However, it can, if designed and implemented effectively with the full involvement of all stakeholders, form an important element of a wider strategy to tackle litter and littering behaviour in Scotland.
We welcomed the announcement from the then Environment Secretary in January 2016 that further research was to be conducted to look at costs to small businesses of introducing a Deposit Return System (DRS) in Scotland and look forward to reviewing the findings of this new research in due course.
DRS will not be the silver bullet that solves Scotland's litter problem. However, it can if designed and implemented effectively with the full involvement of all stakeholders, form an important element of a wider strategy to tackle litter and littering behaviour in Scotland.
12 October 2016