Deposit Return Could Keep Half a Million Plastic Bottles out of the Highlands
As many as half a million plastic bottles could be kept out of the environment in the Highlands if a deposit return scheme is introduced, according to figures published by Zero Waste Scotland.
Consumers will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks in plastic and glass bottles or aluminium cans, and they’ll get their money back when they return their empty container.
It’s hoped that this will be enough of an incentive for people to return their bottles and cans rather than throwing them in the bin or littering.
A staggering 539,600 plastic bottles are littered in the Highlands each year, and Zero Waste Scotland estimates that the introduction of a deposit return scheme will reduce this by 90%. This is great news for those waging the war on plastic, and on litter overall.
The deposit is a great incentive
The COO of Zero Waste Scotland said that the 20p that people will get back is a good incentive for people to do the right thing and recycle their drinks containers, so they don’t end up on the streets or in rivers.
Deposit return has increased the price of drinks in parts of Australia
But not everyone is delighted with the idea of a deposit return scheme, especially some residents in Queensland, Australia, who say that the cost of bottled drinks has gone up since the introduction of the region’s reverse vending machine scheme. The cost of non-alcoholic drinks rose by around 9.5 cents per bottle or can, while alcoholic drinks are 8.7 cents more expensive on average.
There has been some concern that manufacturers are adding excessive charges onto drinks to recoup the costs of running the scheme.
But even if it’s hitting some people in the pockets, families, charities, and community groups have raised $70 million by returning their used bottles and cans for 10 cents each. Yes, they’ve returned a whopping 700 million drinks containers since the scheme began nine months ago.
The Environment Minister said that the scheme has surpassed all expectations and added that an average of 3 million drinks containers were being returned to the 307 return points that are now open.
There has been a 35% reduction in bottles and cans ending up as litter since the scheme began, and it’s making a huge difference to the amount of plastic pollution ending up in waterways and the environment.