The Scottish Parliament has set some tough climate change emissions reduction targets, but they keep being missed, year after year. It’s time to do better. However green-minded you are, it’s hard to make a big difference by yourself: what matters is what we all do together. And a deposit return system will help us all do our bit to cut Scotland’s emissions.

Every time plastic is reused for packaging it means less oil is being used for raw material, reducing the pressure to explore for and extract every last drop. More directly, it means less energy is used in manufacturing new packaging materials. The emissions savings from recycling rather than manufacturing from new each time can be up to 60%, which could make a substantial difference, and recycling cans uses about 95% less energy.

A deposit return system is obviously not enough on its own to turn around Scotland’s emissions levels. We believe it’s time for Scottish Ministers to start adopting every “easy win” out there, though, and that has to include a modern deposit return system. We already know how effective this approach has proved in other countries, and there’s no reason we couldn’t see the same benefits here in Scotland.

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‘University of Dundee were part of Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Reverse Vending trial’ in 2012-13, where we introduced reverse vending machines on our campus. A survey of our students during the trial showed that over 70% of those respondents who had used the machines were encouraged to recycle more.
Because of this deposit return system, we have definitely seen greater willingness among our students to recycle more. We have actually continued using the reverse vending machines and they are now a permanent feature that people use. People in Scotland deserve the opportunity to be rewarded for recycling more through a national deposit return system and we encourage other universities and colleges to take part in this campaign.’

University of Dundee

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