Bottle return plan ‘flawed’

The plans could affect the on-trade.
The plans could affect the on-trade.

THE first minister’s Programme for Government, unveiled last week, has been criticised over the ambiguity surrounding plans for a bottle and can deposit return scheme, which could have a detrimental effect on the country’s on-trade.

Introducing the programme to parliament, Nicola Sturgeon announced the SNP administration’s commitment to the scheme as “part of our determination to tackle litter”.

The Scottish Government has been working with Zero Waste Scotland to plan the initiative, which would see customers pay a levy when purchasing bottles or cans, which will then be refunded when they return them.

However, no details about how the initiative would work in theory or in practice have been revealed by the government.

The Scottish Pub & Beer Association (SBPA), which has previously stated that the scheme could potentially lead to a “lack of custom” in bars, told SLTN that better recycling options which wouldn’t hinder businesses should be considered.

A spokesman for the SBPA said: “Supporting existing local recycling schemes is likely to deliver better results, would be much more efficient and would also create many new jobs.

“A mandatory deposit scheme, on the other hand, would be very costly and consumers and businesses would foot the bill.”

The Scottish Federation of Small Business (FSB) said it was “alarmed” to see ministers reach a decision in principle on the matter without providing adequate detail about implementation.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “Virtually every Scottish pub would have to make big changes if a container deposit scheme was put in place. We can’t see how this will not increase the cost of doing business for many local traders.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said businesses would be consulted during the design and implementation of the scheme to support its introduction.