Aberdeenshire Council offers its support for Deposit Return Scheme concept

Aberdeenshire Council has announced its support for the concept of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.

The Scottish Government is seeking to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) to increase the quality and quantity of materials captured for recycling and to reduce litter.

Under the draft proposals, people will pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

Currently, the types of drinks containers included in the scheme are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles.

All retailers selling this type of drinks containers are required to participate in the scheme, including online retailers.

During a meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday (Nov 28), councillors heard that the scheme will be run by a scheme administrator to be appointed by the Scottish Government and within three years aims to capture 90% of eligible drinks containers placed on the market in Scotland.

The scheme will be funded by unredeemed deposits, revenue from the sale of materials and a producer fee.

In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, Aberdeenshire Council supports the concept of the scheme for drinks containers and welcomes the timely introduction of regulations on DRS in Scotland.

The council says it is keen to make service changes to increase the area’s recycling rate and to align its recycling services with national policy and requirements.

Director of Infrastructure Services Stephen Archer said: “While the council understands the reasoning behind the approach taken with the single deposit amount to keep the scheme simple and easy to understand, it remains concerned about any unintended implications which may result from charging the same deposit on all sizes of drinks containers.

“For example, people may end up buying a larger drinks container and wasting the drink to avoid paying for multiple deposits on multipacks of smaller drinks containers which goes against the aims of the scheme and the government policy on food waste reduction.”

With regards to the anticipated reduction in drinks containers being collected by local authorities as part of their kerbside collection services, Aberdeenshire Council wants to know how the targets on DRS will relate to the recycling targets on household waste set on councils and whether the tonnage of drinks containers collected in any specific local authority area will be included in the household waste recycling rate for that local authority.

The council has welcomed the opportunity for organisations to register as
voluntary return point operators as this might benefit the local authority and third sector
organisations as an income generator.