Island residents trial bottle deposit scheme ahead of 2023 launch

Orkney residents will be asked to place any single-use containers into reverse vending machines.

Orkney residents trial recycling deposit scheme ahead of 2023 launch iStock

Scottish islanders are to be given the chance to try out a new recycling initiative ahead of the introduction of a nationwide deposit return scheme.

Orkney residents will be invited to place any single-use drinks containers into reverse vending machines for recycling as part of the Return and Recycle Orkney initiative.

The machines will then generate a 5p donation to charity for every bottle or can returned.

Delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Return and Recycle Orkney will run from Friday until August next year.

Scotland’s deposit return scheme – the first such initiative to be introduced by a UK nation – is expected to be launched that month, and will see customers paying a deposit of 20p when they purchase a drink in a single-use container.

The deposit will then be paid back when the empty bottle or can is returned.

Orkney’s trial scheme will not require consumers to pay a deposit on drinks containers, but it is hoped it will provide insight into how the initiative can be rolled out to rural and island communities.

Ahead of the launch, circular economy minister Lorna Slater said: “This is a fantastic project that will make it easy for people in Orkney to recycle their empty drinks bottles and cans.

“Better recycling facilities will help keep litter off our streets and green spaces, while reducing the needless waste and emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

“I look forward to seeing these benefits experienced in communities all across the country next year when Scotland’s deposit return scheme goes live.”

Jill Farrell, director of evidence and insights at Zero Waste Scotland, added: “Return and Recycle Orkney is a great opportunity for islanders to do their bit for their environment and raise funds for local causes at the same time.

“Initiatives like this have real potential to transform our behaviour towards single-use materials, which is a must if we’re serious about tackling the climate emergency.

“It is fantastic to see Return and Recycle Orkney go live. It is a significant milestone and I look forward to the valuable insights it will provide.”

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