Why Scots will be misled on “reward for recycling”

En primer lugar , una pequeña excusa ante los lectores en español, por el cambio, pero en este caso concreto es importante llegar a otros lectores.

Several ‘Recycle and Reward’ schemes, offering people money back for recycling empty bottles and cans will be piloted in Scotland in the coming weeks.

Nine companies and organisations will be trialling the projects, which will reward people for recycling glass, aluminium and plastic (PET) drinks containers through a range of incentives such as money back, discount vouchers or vouchers for donations to charities.

These projects open the way to implement in Scotland Deposit and Return Schemes for one way drinks packaging, such as those in existence in Germany for the past ten years and the Nordic countries before that.

The reason why the public will be misled is that in a real Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) such as the one which would be eventually implemented in Scotland, once consumers get used to the familiar sight of Reverse Vending Machines in their shopping areas, consumers will have to pay an extra price of (more or less) 20p for every drinks package bought, and then bring the empty package back to get (with luck) their money back. This extra cost can be higher (e.g. a small size DOB product) than that of the drink itself including the package.

If they break the package, crush it, loose the label or produce any other damage, they will as well loose their money. 
In fact these are not “reward” systems but “punishment” systems whereby consumers are obliged to bring their drinks packaging back to collect their money.

How do they work? First of all, the main income of DRS schemes is the money not returned back to the customers who could not or did not want to return their bottles or cans.

Second, they are not general systems, but discriminatory systems whereby some drinks packaging are collected (eg beer or soft drinks cans or bottles) and others are not (e.g. wine or liquor bottles or milk cartons)

While there is a genuine and clear intent of authorities to improve recycling, which should be welcomed, DRS are very expensive commercial schemes to install reverse vending machines, counting centres, etc. which benefit partially the environment but basically companies setting them up.

The fact that this is presented as something new to study and evaluate is also misleading: Defra did already do that a couple of years ago, (PB 13540 report) and these were the conclusions :

– The annual cost of a UK deposit system was estimated in a report for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England at £1.4bn. Of this, £944m would fall to consumers in the form of uncollected deposits.
– Taking all of this into account, we have decided not to take the option of deposits forward for the time being, and concentrate on other ways to increase recycling and address litter.

Finally I have to apologize for invading your peace; as a reader you have all the right to say – why should someone from the South tell us all this? The reason is simple: we have suffered a similar offensive in Spain in the past two years, which is still going on, based on lies on top of lies about the system, and I would not wish you a similar nightmare.

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