Alupro responds to further DRS complexities in Scotland
Complexities surrounding the Scottish Government’s planned introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) continued to build this weekend, with Whitehall controversially telling ministers that plans could only go ahead if a number of substantial changes were immediately implemented.
In what first minister Humza Yousaf has described as a ‘democratic outrage,’ the UK Government claimed adaptations were the only way to securing exemption under Section 10 of the UK Internal Market Act, under the guise of making policy easier for consumers to understand. These included removing glass from the list of recyclable containers, as well as agreeing to align both the deposit charge and labelling with the UK’s own planned scheme.
Industry feedback has since been critical, with many suggesting that legislation has been used to strongarm the Scottish Government. With decisions going against manifesto policies, the results of impact assessments and the wider views of the supply chain, the logic seems difficult to understand.
In comment, Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, said: “While debate has raged around the design of Scotland’s DRS for some time now, this latest announcement is not only hugely disappointing, frustrating and short-sighted at best, but one that could prove frankly devastating for the UK’s aluminium can industry.
“After all, with glass excluded, other packaging types face a gaping commercial disadvantage – especially when combined with a flat rate of deposit that incentivises the use of large plastic bottles. As a result, this move could destroy the future of the Scottish drink industry’s most sustainable packaging format.
“Excluding glass bottles seems senseless when it comes to ensuring that the public are receiving clear and simple recycling messages. Indeed, a scheme including glass would surely be easier to engage with, especially when compared to a system that includes certain packaging types, excludes others and expects consumers to understand the reasoning.
“These decisions are simply unacceptable for the UK can industry, an employer of thousands and a key contributor to the UK economy. Despite aluminium being infinitely recyclable and, therefore, the most sustainable packaging material, it seems that, through this announcement, we’ve put a nail in the coffin of a hugely successful industry.
“Excluding glass bottles as well as allowing a fixed rate deposit to remain in place instead of implementing a simple system of a deposit that increases with container size, will both hamper the scheme’s roll-out and wider ambitions to drive a measurable uplift in recycling rates.”