Co-operation with the UK Government
As noted in the introduction, the UK Government announced on 28 March 2018 that it will introduce a deposit return scheme and will consult on options later this year. As noted in the components section, there are a number of ways in which being part of a UK wide system or at least co-ordinating separate systems would be beneficial. These include:
- Reducing or eliminating the possibility of cross-border fraud or leakage
- Ensuring systems are consistent for consumers who may cross the border frequently
- Simplifying supply lines for retail and industry
- Eliminating issues around product labelling and similar areas that are currently reserved to the UK Government
These need to be balanced against ensuring that the benefits for Scotland of any scheme are maximised. Key considerations in this regard are:
- Ambition of the scheme – other administrations may not want to include the same materials that the Scottish Government deems appropriate to include in the scheme following this consultation.
- Control of material – one of the key economic benefits of a deposit return system would come from having large quantities of very high quality material available for recycling. This availability could be used to attract plastic and other reprocessing companies to Scotland, which is a key goal of our resource management policy. There is therefore a case that a Scottish system administrator should keep control of the material collected in Scotland rather than having it aggregated with the rest of the UK's material.
As was noted in the introduction, deposit return can be seen as being part of wider producer responsibility. The UK Government has committed to reviewing the current producer responsibility system, in order to support a more circular economy and to meet the cost recovery requirements of the EU Circular Economy Package. Producer responsibility is a devolved issue but operated by agreement as a consistent system across the UK. It will therefore be important for us to continue to engage with the UK Government to understand the impact of these policy reforms on a Scottish deposit return scheme.
Questions on co-operation with the other UK administrations
Q49. Do you think being part of a UK-wide system would be beneficial for deposit return in Scotland? Please explain your reasons.
Q50. Do you think having compatible but separate systems would achieve the same effect as a single system? Please explain your reasons.
Q51. Can you identify any risks with being part of a UK system?
Q52. Can you identify any risks with not being part of a UK system?