Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Gillian Martin MSP
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
The Scottish Parliament
5 December 2019
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee on 19 November to give evidence on the Scottish Government's draft Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations.
In the course of that session I agreed to write to the committee providing further information on the potential for additional materials to be included in our proposed scheme and, specifically, whether this would require an amendment to the above Regulations.
We have undertaken a further analysis of this point and concluded that it would be possible for industry to voluntarily extend the scope of materials to be included in the scheme, but that there are clear advantages to legislating for any such change. More specifically, a legislative approach would ensure that the legal obligations placed on producers and retailers in relation to the scheme will apply consistently across all materials.
A decision by industry to voluntarily add materials to the scheme without corresponding legislation would, for example, result in a situation whereby some materials attracted statutory collection targets whilst others would not. There would also be no statutory obligation on any parties to participate in the scheme with respect to the 'new' materials. Such an arrangement could result in a situation whereby individual retailers choose not to accept the return of certain materials because they are not legally obligated to. As the enforcement authority for the scheme, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency would have no powers to intervene in such a scenario.
The Scottish Government wants to establish a scheme that maximises consumer participation and represents the best possible opportunity to drive the increases in recycling we wish to see. We believe the adoption of legislation which applies equally across all in-scope materials will help us to achieve these objectives.
As I outlined in my evidence to the Committee, we are open to expanding the scope of materials to be included in the scheme at a later date and welcome the interest being shown by packaging producers who wish to participate. Any expansion would involve an amendment to the above Regulations which would be subject to the Scottish Parliament's affirmative procedure.
I hope this reply is helpful.