UK drinks producers would suffer from Scottish ‘bottle tax’

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The UK drinks industry is against Scotland’s proposed bottle tax, as the costs involved could be damaging

According to the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), drinks manufacturers throughout the UK would likely experience “very significant financial implications” if the proposed ‘bottle tax’ and return scheme was introduced in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament is considering introducing the drinks packaging tax throughout the country. The tax would form part of a tax and return scheme, which would operate like similar schemes that are successful in many countries across the globe, including Germany, Sweden and Canada.

Scotland is considering a deposit and return scheme for drinks containers

Scotland is considering a deposit and return scheme for drinks containers

Drinks consumers will be required to pay an extra tax when purchasing a packaged drink (plastic, aluminium, or glass), but they will then receive the same amount back when they return the empty packaging to a recycling reverse vending machine. In Germany, the deposit amount is currently set at 25 cent.

Gavin Partington, director general at BSDA, is against the deposit and return scheme as he believes the British drinks industry will be impacted financially.

According to Mr Partington, drinks manufacturers will have to spend on reverse vending machines and also separate packaging for Scotland, as deposit and return schemes operate by using a different SKU (stock-keeping unit). Mr Partington said this latter detail could even require “separate distribution centres”.

In a Scottish National Party manifesto, published before this year’s May elections, it was claimed that a deposit and return drinks packaging scheme would “increase the amount of high quality material being brought forward for recycling and help to reduce litter”.

However, Mr Partington thinks that the country’s household recycling services are “adequate enough”, despite recycling rates suggesting otherwise. In 2014, the recycling rate in Scotland reached 42.8 per cent; a fair bit short of the 70 per cent recycling target which as been set for 2025.

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