While the Scottish government has stated its intention to push ahead with the design and implementation of a deposit return system, it may be that there is a final chance to stop this ridiculous proposal or at least to make sure it stays in the ‘too difficult’ folder.

At our Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on November 28, we heard from the leading environment and waste consultants Valpak about the real levels of recycling in Scotland. 

Their figures showed conclusively that the recycling levels of plastic, glass and aluminium are already very high and compare very favourably with other European countries.

A deposit return system in Scotland, even at a return rate of 90%, would only raise overall plastic recycling by a mere 3%. The Scottish government is trying to fix something that is not broken.

The likely cost for a system in Scotland – based on comparisons with the system in Denmark – is likely to be £100m. 

In the past few days we have seen a report emerging showing the main sources of ocean plastic are 10 rivers across Africa and Southern Asia. Retailers in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are simply not to blame for this problem – another justification for deposit return has evaporated. 

Michael Gove has indicated that international aid could be used to solve this problem: the Chancellor has suggested a new plastic tax in the last budget. Could the UK Government be moving away from a DRS? 

On behalf of the Cross Party Group we are writing to Zero Waste Scotland to tell them that there is no business or environmental case for DRS. Watch this space. 

Pete Cheema, Chief executive, Scottish Grocers Federation