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Highland Council website recycling page
Highland Council household recycling leaflet


March 2023

Deposit return scheme faces opposition

Scotland's proposed Deposit Return Scheme, already postponed from last August to August this year, has run into stiff opposition from various sources, particularly drinks producers fearful of unspecified increased costs and the possibility of being unable to sell their products in Scotland.

The UK Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has called for the scheme to be posponed to await the introduction of a UK-wide scheme in 2025, and has been accused of misleading the UK parliament over whether Scottish Ministers had correctly applied for the necessary exemption from the UK  Internal Market Act to allow the same goods to be sold for different prices in England and Scotland.

Lorna Slater, the Green Party Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, has insisted that the scheme will go ahead as planned in August.  In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 1 March she said that producers responsible for 90% of the volume of drinks sold in Scotland had signed up to the scheme, but refused to say what proportion of the total number of producers this represented, which some opposition MSPs claimed was as low as 20%.  Ms Slater's position has been somewhat undermined by the fact that all three contenders for the SNP leadership have said that they would not implement the scheme in its current form in August.

Transcript of the minister's statement

BBC News website
'Why is Scotland's deposit return scheme under fire?'

BBC News 12 February
'Scotland must rethink bottle recycling scheme - UK minister'

Other countries

Zero Waste Scotland says that Deposit return schemes are already being used effectively in over 45 countries and territories around the world.  In Europe, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden have had successful schemes in place in some cases since the 1970s.


ILM Highland - Local specialist recycling facility

From the Planet Sutherland July 2021 newsletter

ILM Highland is a local independent charity and social enterprise, providing home improvement, electrical recycling and retail services to the Highlands of Scotland.  Our mission is to

  • Reduce waste
  • Protect the environment
  • Support vulnerable people to be at home

Our home improvement services provide free support and assistance to the most vulnerable in our community, enabling them to maintain their independence.  This includes our Care & Repair and Handy-person services available across Ross-shire and Sutherland.  To support these services, we offer an extensive electrical recycling service – to the public and to businesses – as well as running an electrical retail shop online and from our base in Alness selling quality and affordable refurbished and new appliances. We also offer spare parts and repair services for a large number of electrical appliances through our Spares & Repairs service.

ILM has also recently installed electrical recycling containers for small electrical items across Easter Ross and Sutherland, while larger items can be dropped off at our base in Alness or at any of the Highland Council’s household waste recycling centres across the region.  As a social enterprise, we reinvest every penny of profit back into our local community and our ethos remains at the core of what we do – supporting vulnerable people to be at home.  For more information please visit our website at  or call us on 01349 884774. We are also on Facebook.


September 2022

Scotland's bottle return scheme delayed

Skye Climate Action's latest newsletter draws attention to the delay in the introduction of Scotland's bottle return scheme, originally planned for August this year but put back some months ago to August 2023.

The government's press release of December 2021 fails to mention the postponement or the original date, and still tries to represent the scheme as a ground-breaking initiative.  It blames the Covid crisis and Brexit for the delay, while understandably furious environmental groups point to intense lobbying by drinks manufacturers and big retailers.

Lack of enthusiasm for the scheme from those who would be expected to help operate it may be a contributory cause of the delay.  As at July this year no applications had been received to set up any of the 500 collection points that Zero Waste Scotland had estimated would be required.

John Mayhew, the director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, said

"This is a sad day for Scotland’s environment.  The Scottish government’s flagship waste reduction programme lies essentially scuttled beneath the waves, sunk by a combination of intense industry lobbying and a lack of political will.”

Media comment

The Guardian  Severin Carrell Scotland editor  14 December 2021

The Herald     Andrew Learmonth  25 July 2022

STV News      James Delaney    16 August 2022


January 2022

France bans plastic packaging for fresh vegetables

A law banning plastic packaging for large numbers of fruits and vegetables came into force in France on New Year’s Day, to end what the government has called the “aberration” of overwrapped carrots, apples and bananas, as environmental campaigners and exasperated shoppers urge other countries to do the same.

Emmanuel Macron has called the ban on plastic packaging of fresh produce “a real revolution” and said France was taking the lead globally with its law to gradually phase out all single-use plastics by 2040.

The Guardian     Angelique Chrisafis      31 December 2021

Read the full article


December 2021

Recycling agricultural plastic - John Muir Trust

Skye Climate Action has drawn attention to an initiative by the John Muir Trust looking into the recycling of agricultural plastic and the possibility of setting up a facility for this on Skye

Next Steps for Agricultural Plastics Recycling - a business opportunity on Skye by Cathryn Baillie, John Muir Trust.

The John Muir Trust began a pilot scheme to collect waste agricultural plastic from crofting tenants on Skye, the aim being to divert the waste from landfill into the recycling stream, where it could be reprocessed into useful items.  Collections began in winter 2020/2021 and were limited to a small number of local crofters, including only four who regularly use silage.  To date we have gathered between 1-2 tonnes of waste silage wrap and feedbags.  There has been significant interest in the scheme from other crofters on the island and surrounding area, so if the project was scaled up, I anticipate that the volume of plastic waste collected could be substantial. 

We are now at the stage of carbon auditing the various transport and recycling options for the plastic, but unfortunately there are no ideal scenarios at present.  We would love to see the waste being reprocessed nearby and the resulting products sold locally. Planet Sutherland are in the process of setting up a reprocessing plant for waste plastics and they hope to be operational by early 2022.  They would be keen to support a similar enterprise here, perhaps carrying out different but complementary services.

What we are hoping now is that someone in the Skye and Lochalsh area will see this as an opportunity to create a business.  We have some insight into what would be required, and we would like to assist anyone with an interest in taking the project on.  There is significant funding available at the moment for improving recycling infrastructure from Zero Waste Scotland.  And our funders from the William Grant Foundation may also consider offering support to see the project continue and grow.  If you would like to discuss the opportunity further, please get in touch.

Planet Sutherland project summary 2020



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