A global dis­grace and how the rest of world cleans up

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Rachel Wat­son Deputy Scot­tish Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor Is­rael

AS the global de­mand for bot­tled wa­ter has soared, coun­tries have re­sponded to the po­ten­tial for an en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter caused by a sea of plas­tic.

Bot­tle de­posit schemes are one of the most pop­u­lar green ini­tia­tives adopted by gov­ern­ments across the globe.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is yet to em­brace it, but in re­cent years at least 17 coun­tries have in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to en­cour­age those buy­ing wa­ter, juice and al­co­hol to re­turn bot­tles – with oth­ers pre­par­ing to fol­low suit.

While each na­tion has its own ap­proach, they have all en­joyed sim­i­lar, high lev­els of suc­cess.

The first bot­tle de­posit scheme was in­tro­duced nearly 50 years ago in Ore­gon, in the United States, and while leg­is­la­tion has been tweaked over the years, it re­mains in place.

The ini­tia­tive has helped to cut waste by more than 80 per cent in the US and this suc­cess has en­cour­aged other coun­tries to fol­low their lead, with leg­is­la­tion cov­er­ing more than 264mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.

Here’s how other na­tions have turned bot­tle de­posit schemes into an en­vi­ron­men­tal suc­cess: USA ORE­GON, in the North­west, was the first place in the world to bring in a bot­tle re­turn scheme in 1971. Over the years this has been tweaked as progress has been made in con­sumer mar­kets.

The other states with the leg­is­la­tion are Cal­i­for­nia, Con­necti­cut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Mas­sachusetts, Michi­gan, New York and Ver­mont.

US of­fi­cials and en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts be­lieve bot­tle de­posit laws have cut waste by more than 80 per cent in states where the ini­tia­tives have been adopted.

Ger­many

BOT­TLE de­posit leg­is­la­tion, or ‘Ein­wegp­fand’ as it is known, was passed in 2002 be­fore be­ing im­ple­mented on Jan­uary 1, 2003.

Ger­man law­mak­ers brought for­ward the Bill af­ter the coun­try failed to meet re­cy­cling tar­gets through­out the 1990s and early 2000s. The coun­try en­joys the high­est rate of suc­cess, with 98.5 per cent of bot­tles re­turned – an es­ti­mated 12bil­lion drinks con­tain­ers are now off Ger­man streets in to­tal.

Aus­tralia

BOTH the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and South Aus­tralia in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion in 2012-13 and it is to be rolled out across the coun­try in the com­ing year. The only ar­eas which will not have a bot­tle de­posit ini­tia­tive by 2018 will be Tas­ma­nia and Vic­to­ria.

Where the scheme is in place, a 76 per cent re­turn rate has been re­ported. In 201 -16, 82mil­lion con­tain­ers (43,16 tons) worth $ 8mil­lion (£3 mil­lion) were re­turned.

Canada

EACH prov­ince and ter­ri­tory in Canada has in­tro­duced its own bot­tle de­posit sys­tem, ex­cept the north­ern ter­ri­tory of Nu­navut. Most ar­eas, in­clud­ing Al­berta and Que­bec, have a wide sys­tem ac­cept­ing all drinks con­tain­ers.

In On­tario, only al­co­hol bot­tles are ac­cepted. This was ini­tially in­tro­duced as a pro­gramme by The Beer Store for beer con­tain­ers only. How­ever, all al­co­hol bot­tles are now ac­cepted, with the av­er­age one be­ing washed and reused up to 15 times.

Fin­land

INI­TIAL leg­is­la­tion for a de­posit re­fund scheme was in­tro­duced in 2008. Since then, 1.7bil­lion bot­tles have been re­turned, with a re­turn rate of 94 per cent.

Es­to­nia

THE re­fund­able de­posit leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced as part of the coun­try’s Pack­ag­ing Act, in­tro­duced in 2005. Since then there has been a re­turn rate of be­tween 80 and 96 per cent.

Nor­way

BOT­TLE de­posit leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced in 1999 – now there are more than 9,000 es­tab­lish­ments where mem­bers of the pub­lic can re­turn them and col­lect their de­posit.

There are also nearly 3,000 re­verse vend­ing machines where drinks con­tain­ers can be ex­changed for re­ceipts, which are then cashed.

Each year, around 194mil­lion cans and 49mil­lion bot­tles are col­lected as part of the scheme.

Swe­den

LEG­IS­LA­TION was in­tro­duced for a can de­posit scheme in 1984, which was ex­tended to plas­tic bot­tles in 1994, be­fore all drinks con­tain­ers were in­cluded in 2006. The re­turn rate is around 90 to 94 per cent.

Lithua­nia

THE leg­is­la­tion for the scheme passed last year. The Act was of­fi­cially im­ple­mented in Jan­uary and as yet there are no fig­ures on suc­cess. A BOT­TLE de­posit scheme was in­tro­duced in 2001, with con­sumers urged to re­turn drinks con­tain­ers to re­tail­ers. The sys­tem has a 56 per cent re­turn rate.

Ice­land

A DE­POSIT ini­tia­tive was rolled out in 1989. Each year the re­turn rate has been steady at 90 per cent for alu­minium, 87 per cent for plas­tic and 82 per cent for glass.

Den­mark

LEG­IS­LA­TION was in­tro­duced in 1989 then amended in 1991 to ex­pand the scheme and in­clude more types of con­tain­ers. The re­turn rate for all drinks con­tain­ers re­mains be­tween 80 and 98 per cent.

Croa­tia

THE bot­tle de­posit scheme was in­tro­duced in 200 and, while pop­u­lar, the tar­get re­mains at 80 per cent and above.

Czech Repub­lic

THE ini­tia­tive was in­tro­duced in 2001 and has helped the coun­try’s over­all re­cy­cling rate go from 7 per cent at the be­gin­ning of the mil­len­nium to 30 per cent. The re­cy­cling rate of drinks con­tain­ers is more than 70 per cent.

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