Archive image c.1977, courtesy of Alistair Kerr.
First to implement no-smoking bans in enclosed spaces, then whole campuses, and still working hard to implement a minimum price for alcohol, Scotland is first with plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans. Witness as I’m sure you all are to the blight of discarded garbage in Scotland’s streets and places of scenic beauty, I strongly welcome this plan and, once more it’s good to see our government getting on with the kind of things most of us want to see happen.
It’s estimated that, in addition to the obvious aesthetic benefits, the scheme could save Scottish local authorities between £3 and £6 per year on litter clearance alone. Just as in the old days you’d get a refund on returning items to a shop. Shops would, of course, require a surcharge when the items were bought.
I know some folk would still throw their empties away but an army of entrepreneurial wee tykes would soon be organising themselves with big bags and doing the councils’ litter collection job for them. I was part of such a team of wee businessmen back in the 1950s and early 60s. I also seem to remember taking empty jam jars for entry to the proudly named Empire Electric/La Scala in Grangemouth in the same period for the matinee shows when you could hear nothing but the booing and cheering of the bairns in attendance. Used as the illustration above because I can. It’s my blog. I see, too, that a Tyneside community cinema has partly restored the scheme this year. Tyneside is of course, more like Scotland than South-east England.
Similar schemes are already in place in Scandinavia and 78% of Scots expressed support in a poll but AG Barr has opposed it. The Whisky Association oppose minimum alcohol pricing and I feel sure the tobacco companies opposed the measures to reduce smoking. What do you expect? It’s our world not theirs.