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Zero Waste Scotland launches £900,000 fund as part of a recycling rewards trial
Scottish people will receive money or vouchers for returning empty bottles and cans to shops as part of a new fund set up by Zero Waste Scotland to achieve the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan.
The £900,000 fund will be accepting bids from today (11 June) until 28 September and is available to retailers, high street shops, shopping centres, schools and event venues. Those who are successful in receiving a proportion of the fund will be encouraged to run a range of recycling rewards to customers, such as deposit return schemes that charge a small fee for each container bought (which is refunded when returned), and reverse vending systems such as discount vouchers or loyalty points in return for recyclable items. Existing evidence shows that these schemes can deliver recycling rates of more than 80 per cent.
Environment Minister Richard Lochhead welcomed the trial, saying: “A lot of us remember taking our empty glass bottles back to the shop for money. I remember when I was growing up running to our local shop with my glass bottle to get my money back. Now with the help of modern technology, this approach can also be used to recycle the valuable plastic bottles and metal cans we currently send to landfill.”
Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around £6 million could be made from recycling the 22,000 tonnes of plastic (PET) drinks bottles that currently go to landfill in Scotland annually.
“Last year we made an election manifesto commitment to pilot deposit return and reverse vending systems for single-use plastic, glass, and aluminium containers in Scotland”, said Lochhead. “New recycling methods must be considered to help us continue to boost our recycling rate and make the most of our valuable resources.”
Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, also welcomed the trial, citing the success that Germany, Scandinavia and South Australia have had using deposit and return systems. “Trialling these systems in Scotland will allow us to see whether they could be adopted them more widely. Current recycling systems including household collections and public recycling points already play an important role. But large amounts of valuable materials like plastic bottles and drinks cans still end up in landfill and alternative recycling methods could help us harness this lost value.”
Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and all pilot projects will be monitored and evaluated by Zero Waste Scotland, who shall measure the following criteria: public perception and acceptability; tonnage of material captured; quality of material captured; whether the material has been diverted from kerbside collections, bring sites or landfill littering; increased footfall; visitor’s use of facility, and visitor spend. Pilot projects should aim to be completed by 27 September 2013.
Applications to the fund can be made at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk.
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