Scotland needs to reconsider its bottle recycling program, says a UK minister

beverage dispenser

Alister Jack, the secretary for Scotland, has urged the Scottish government to reevaluate its main recycling initiative.

After business leaders voiced their concerns about the setup costs, the UK minister said the Deposit Return Scheme should be "paused.".

Using a 20p deposit on single-use beverage bottles and cans, the initiative, which is set to go into effect in August, aims to increase recycling.

Industry skeptics worry that it will limit choice, increase prices, and disrupt trade.

Mr. Jack advised the Scottish government to take the UK as a whole into consideration.

Speaking to Scottish Mail on Sunday, he claimed that a UK-wide program, scheduled to begin in 2025, would maximize environmental advantages while causing the least amount of disruption to the drinks industry.

The creation of a deposit return scheme is a difficult and intricate task, he claimed.

The last thing we want to do is jump into this too quickly and cause unnecessary problems for Scottish businesses, especially as many are still recovering from the effects of the Covid pandemic and are dealing with rising costs as a result of the war in Ukraine.

In partnership with the governments of Wales and Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs, the UK government scheme is about to go into effect.

"It is not too late to think again, so I am requesting that the Scottish government halt its plan and collaborate with us to develop a system that works for the entire UK.

Alister Jack
Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, recommended "pausing" the Deposit Return Scheme.

If the deposit return scheme is implemented in Scotland this summer, it will be the first in the UK.

Originally presented in 2017, the plans were described by the Scottish government as "a step change in our level of ambition" for recycling.

The Covid pandemic was given the blame for the delay, which was first put off until July 2022 and then again until August of this year.

Brexit was one of many problems slowing down the system, according to circular economy minister Lorna Slater, who addressed MSPs.

Because the plan calls for different prices to be charged for the same product on both sides of the border, critics in the beverage industry worry that it may hinder trade between Scotland and England.

Former Scottish government rural affairs minister and SNP MSP Fergus Ewing made a similar request earlier this week.

He claimed that the bill's current form was a "disaster" that would cost the SNP votes on BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show.

"This cannot work," he declared, quoting the government's own review. Going forward is therefore reckless.

"Surely the permanent secretary and other members of St. Andrews House should leave their offices, visit business, and resolve the issue before it worsens into a catastrophe.

The Scottish government's review of the program in December revealed that a number of problems remained and that a "fully operational program can not be in operation by August.".

A summit between the first minister, business leaders, and the program's administrators, as well as an independent review, have been requested by Mr. Ewing.

The program is run by Circularity Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland assisted in its conception and provided implementation advice, and Sepa, the environmental agency, is in charge of overseeing the program.

There was no one available to comment from the Scottish government, Circularity Scotland Ltd, or Zero Waste Scotland.

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