Scotland the brave (or foolish)

In a period where everything revolves around discussing the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to take our eye off the ball on other matters.

One issue that goes under the radar is the upcoming vote on regulation in Scotland to do with the introduction of a national deposit return scheme (DRS).

On the face of it, Scotland’s approach is laudable – tackling plastic pollution, increasing recycling rates and minimising litter. However, the potential impact to metal packaging is stark, but not in a positive way.

Alupro (The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation) has conducted research and overwhelmingly concluded that the flat rate fee is both unfair and potentially damaging to issues like single use plastic.

According to Alupro, under the proposed regulations, “a flat deposit fee of 20p will be applied to all sizes of container. This could see customers charged an additional £4.80 upfront for a 24-can multipack, while only 80 pence for the same volume of drink packed in four large plastic bottles.

“In this scenario, independent research suggests that two thirds of consumers would be likely to opt for larger plastic alternatives, resulting in the unnecessary production of 82 million additional plastic bottles”.

If done well DRS can be a fantastic concept, but when done badly, they can be very damaging. It’s clear Scotland’s current strategy is badly thought through, and let’s hope with the work of our industry bodies, that the Scottish parliament will make some changes to its DRS policy. But for now, it’s not looking promising.

We should hear more from its Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee meeting today, and we’ll bring you more news as we hear it. Fingers crossed this unfair scheme which favours plastic is permanently binned…

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