Scotland business

Scottish deposit return scheme plan praised

vending machine
Image caption Tomra has become known for making "reverse vending machines" where customers can return used bottles

One of the world's leading recycling firms has said Scottish government plans for a deposit return scheme could be taken on by other countries.

Proposals for a drinks container scheme would see customers pay a small charge, which is refunded when the bottle is returned to a shop.

Truls Haug, UK boss of Norwegian firm Tomra's deposit return business, said he was "quite a fan" of the plan.

Scottish ministers are currently considering their next steps.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said the results of a recent consultation on deposit return show the public would back such a scheme, which under the current proposals would have a minimum deposit of more than 15 pence.

One of the aims of the consultation was to help determine what range of materials - such as plastic, metal or glass glass - should be included. A decision on this will be announced at a later date.

Mr Haug, whose company has a focus on making "reverse vending" machines, which take in used bottles, said of the Scottish government plan: "I'm quite a fan of what they are presenting.

"I think if they act on what they have stated earlier, I believe this could be a leading example going forward."

Image caption Tomra's Truls Haug said Scotland's proposed deposit return scheme could be a leading example

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "They are one of the first states that focus on the recycling more than reducing littering.

"If you focus on recycling, the littering will automatically be reduced.

"But if you only focus on littering, that doesn't mean you recycle the material.

"So I think they have the correct approach to a deposit return scheme."

The Scottish government has been working to take forward the scheme amid increasing concern about the amount of recyclable waste being buried in the ground.

Mr Haug, managing director of Tomra Collection Solutions UK & Ireland, said the key to an effective deposit return scheme was to make it simple and include a wide a range of containers - like glass, plastic and paper.

He said: "Lithuania had a recycling rate of 34% prior to the introduction of deposit, and they reached about 90% within two years."

Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme, and the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have now set out their own plans.

The idea of a UK deposit return scheme has seen some controversy, with some retailers accused of trying to water down the proposals.

For more on this story and the other main business issues of the day, follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.