Publication - Consultation paper

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary

Summary of the Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland consultation paper.

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary
Example 2 - Take back to dedicated drop-off points and some shops (with cartons and cups)

Example 2 - Take back to dedicated drop-off points and some shops (with cartons and cups)

Example 2 is a similar system to Example 1 but it would have more return points, as some shops may also have to have deposit return points where there isn't a recycling point style dedicated drop-off point nearby. It would also collect HDPE, which is the kind of plastic that milk bottles are made of and cartons and cups.

What this example looks like

This system would see deposit return machines being placed within a set distance of any shop selling drinks in containers, so that there would be somewhere nearby that people could return the containers to get back the deposit they paid when they bought it.

It would cover more types of plastic bottles than Example 1, as well as aluminium and steel cans, drinks cartons, glass bottles and some single use cups like coffee cups. This example would cover PET plastic, which is the kind that fizzy drinks and bottled water are usually made of, and also a type of plastic called HDPE which is the kind that milk bottles are usually made of.

In this example, shops that sell a high amount of drinks in disposable containers would need to make sure there was a place to get the deposit back within a set distance. If there wasn't a public recycling point within that distance, then the shop would have to have a way to return your deposit to you in the store.

Who would run it

In this example, drinks companies and retailers would need to work together to create an organisation that would run the deposit return system. This organisation would make sure the system runs properly, and some of the money collected by the deposit system would pay for staff needed to run the system and the costs involved in running it. The difference in Example 2 is that some shops would also have a part to play in making sure there is somewhere to get your deposit back nearby.

The new organisation would need to run the network of designated drop-off points, collect in the money, ensure retailers are paid to cover the deposits being paid back to people and make sure all the items were collected for recycling.

The effectiveness of these types of systems elsewhere in the world

Systems like this in California, Maine and British Columbia can see over 80% of drinks containers being recycled. Given Scotland's geography we assumed a slightly lower rate of return than the optimal rates achieved elsewhere in the world.

The benefits and drawbacks of the example

This example offers a higher return rate for drinks containers than Example 1. It also limits the impact on retailers but not to the same extent as Example 1 as some retailers may be required to provide return points or take back in store if there are no return designated drop-off points nearby.

It also goes some way towards solving the problem of accessibility as there would be a larger number of return points, potentially in more convenient locations. This could still limit access to the system for people in rural areas, if their local shops do not sell a high enough volume of drinks to warrant having take back on their premises or close by.

As with Example 1, this example has been modelled with a 20p deposit level which reflects the need for a higher deposit rate to compensate for the lower accessibility of the system.

Qualitative Scoring of Example 2: Take back to dedicated drop off points and some shops (with cartons and cups)

Net Preset Value £352 million (25 years) Return to Depot (Hybrid) All materials
Objective 20p
70% capture rate
Relevant Parameters Score (out of 10) % Weight Weighted Score
Ensure a fairness for all demographic groups e.g. considering the impacts of the deposit level on households on lower incomes 20p, minimal impacts identified 8 32 25.6
Maximise accessibility to all demographic groups e.g. ensure there is no need to access a private vehicle to redeem deposits 2,009 return points, proximity to retailers, 8am-8pm, 3 depots per staff 6 38 22.8
Create employment opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups such as the long term unemployed or those with disabilities 989 jobs, 816 internal across all return points, industry owned 6 13 7.8
Create opportunities to raise funds for charitable causes, where use of the money can have wider societal benefits RVM allows donation 5 17 8.5
Total Score       65

Example 2 scored 65 overall, the second lowest scoring. Key considerations, again, were fairness and accessibility. While the example scored better on accessibility than Example 1, as there would be more return points, it was felt that it still did not offer a good level of accessibility.

The Net Present Value of Example 2: Take back to dedicated drop-off points and some shops (with cartons and cups)

This example assumes a broad range of materials are in scope; glass bottles, metal cans, plastic bottles, beverage cartons and paper based take-away cups, with materials returned to dedicated drop-off points and some shops. With a deposit level of 20p and 2,009 dedicated drop-off points established, within a proximity of points where drinks containers are purchased, a capture rate of 70% is modelled.

Example 2 has a total net benefit of £352 million over the 25-year NPV compared to not introducing a scheme.


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