The idea of plastic bottle deposit schemes, currently proposed for trials in Scotland, has been criticised by the packaging sector through its Incpen trade association.
A London seminar organised by accountancy firm BDO heard Paul Vanston, chief executive of Incpen, explain that councils would lose out the income from the bottles and that they had already invested in the infrastructure.
Mr Vanston said: “If you think about it, councils up and down the country, and I’m talking about the UK now, have put in place a huge amount of infrastructure supported by investments, energy from waste and recycling investments, and collection services.
“Think about it yourself, if you have got a 10p deposit on a bottle you have bought, are you as a person who bought it going to put it into your recycling bin at home or instead take it back to claim your deposit?”
Mr Vanston remarked that there is conflicting evidence on whether a deposit scheme for bottles would work and that practicalities which should be considered had been raised in a letter from Roseanna Cunningham, environment secretary for Scotland, regarding proposals for a bottle deposit scheme in Scotland.
The packaging expert went on to emphasise that councils face the prospect of “cherry-picking” materials with deposit schemes, undermining finances for councils – “if all these valuable bottles go somewhere else, they can’t get that money.”