FPA CHALLENGES ZERO WASTE SCOTLAND CLAIM THAT DRS WILL LEAD TO 90% REDUCTION IN LITTER
FPA Executive Director Martin Kersh says: “Zero Waste Scotland in stating there will be as much as a 90% reduction in drinks cans and bottles litter following the introduction the deposit return system (DRS) gives a false impression that there will be a big reduction in total litter in Scotland. Bottles and cans represent only a small percentage of the composition of litter. Figures produced in 2014 by Keep Scotland Beautiful reveal all drinks cans and drinks bottles account for 4.4% of Scottish litter. The same survey revealed cigarette related litter accounted for 39.4% of litter and gum 45.1%. We hope ZWS are not ignoring cigarettes and chewing gum litter and avoiding the need for action to address both if littering is to be eradicated. Perhaps the hope is that the result of seeing less bottle and can litter will change the behaviour of those who litter cigarettes and gum. Instead of putting cigarette ends on pavements, on grass or even down drains (not included in the data but directly feeding plastics to the marine environment) will smokers, as a result of the deposit scheme, suddenly dispose of their cigarette butts more thoughtfully? We suggest that the Scottish Government takes an interest in holding the cigarette industry to account over the estimated 2.1billion (Figure from Clean up Britain) cigarette butts that are estimated to be littered in Scotland annually.
“If Scotland wishes to make an impression on litter then it must implement a wide raft of measures to include strict enforcement of penalty notices for littering, increase support for charities such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and introduce an extended producer responsibility scheme for cigarettes to cover the cost of their littering. Targeting one or two littered items alone will not eliminate littering behaviour. Any litter leads to more litter and it’s interesting to note that anti-litter charities Keep Norway Beautiful and Keep Sweden Tidy both have extensive, government funded programmes related to litter prevention, despite the presence of a DRS in each country. When discussing the deposit scheme, it’s very important ZWS do not mislead Scottish citizens into believing one measure will eradicate litter. We worry that the introduction of DRS will result in the government taking its foot off the peddle with regard to litter reduction. DRS is not the panacea to eliminate or even significantly reduce litter, let’s not be misled into thinking it will be by those hell bent on introducing the deposit scheme”