23rd September 2018
Move to get new 20p tax on drinks in the can
SNP ministers are studying a Norwegian model in which a levy is imposed on drinks in cans. Customers are given the money back in vouchers when they recycle the cans at supermarkets and elsewhere.
The measure, which comes after the UK government imposed a sugar tax on soft drinks, is part of a planned deposit-return scheme that will also cover glass and plastic bottles.
John Mayhew, who runs the Have You Got the Bottle campaign which promotes the idea, said he expected the scheme, which could be introduced across the UK, to be ambitious.“We expect it to cover cans, glass and plastic bottles, possibly with cartons and coffee cups, too. As for the level of deposit, most of the people we asked suggested 20p, which would be about average for European deposit systems,” he said.
“We also hope the Scottish government can agree how to move on this together with UK ministers.”
Labour’s Scottish environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish, who was part of an all-party group that visited Norway where 97% of plastic bottles are recycled, said the model could work well in Scotland.
“It is essential we change our habits and it is welcome that the Scottish government is looking at measures to reduce waste,” she said.
The Scottish Conservative environment spokesman Donald Cameron said: “For too long we’ve seen parts of Scotland blighted by litter, and we need to step up our efforts to tackle the amount of waste we’re seeing dumped. A deposit-return scheme has huge potential.
“However, it’s important that the concerns of consumers, retailers and small business are addressed so that any scheme is cost-effective for them.”
A Scottish government spokesman said: “Deposit return is not only an effective way of increasing recycling rates and preventing drinks containers from ending up as litter, but it is also an economic opportunity to secure a new source of high-quality material, develop our recycling infrastructure and create jobs.”
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