The Scottish government has annouced a nationwide bottle return scheme that will see customers be given 20p if they return drinks containers after use.
All retailers in the country will be required to comply with the scheme and accept returns of PET plastic bottles – those used for soft drinks and bottled water – as well as glass bottles and steel or aluminium drinks cans.
It will not apply to high density polyethylene plastic – those used for fresh milk packaging because of worried about the smell and contamination.
The scheme will work by charging a 20p deposit on bottles at the point of purchase. Of course, this will increase the cost at first but means if you collect other bottles you could make some money back.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham told MSPs on Wednesday and the plan is expected to be up and running within two years. It aims to capture 90% of drinks containers for recycling within three years.
The blueprint has been praised by environmentalists who encouraged England and Wales to follow suit.
Across the world, an estimated 1.9 trillion drinks are set to be sold in cans, glass and plastic bottles, cartons, pouches and other containers in 2019 – up from 1.6 trillion just four years ago in 2015.
Following on from the success of the 5p charge on plastic bags, it is hoped that a charge will encourage people to think twice about purchasing bottled drinks.
The announcement marks the beginning of 24 hours of a day of action for a “clean planet” with green groups encouraging similar action around the globe.
Campaigners from the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) and the Marine Conservation Society will join in the global protest with an event at Cramond Beach in Edinburgh.
Jenni Hume, campaign manager for the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign, which successfully lobbied Holyrood ministers on the issue, said: “Tackling litter and ensuring the reuse of resources is a complex problem, but deposit return is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to address one part of that problem.
“We hope that other countries, starting with the other parts of the UK, follow the Scottish model, and that we then build on deposit return to find other ways to build a circular economy which minimises waste, carbon emissions and resource use.”
Samantha Harding, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “We will be urging environment secretary Michael Gove to build on Scotland’s ambition and go one better, by making sure every drinks carton is also included within England’s deposit system.”