A NEW recycling initiative has been launched on Orkney in a “key milestone” ahead of Scotland's upcoming national deposit scheme.

The launch of the Return & Recycle Orkney scheme will see islanders place their drinks containers in two reverse vending machines, with a 5p donation to charity made for every bottle or can returned.

Delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Return & Recycle Orkney will run until Scotland’s nationwide deposit return project goes live in August of next year – becoming the first UK nation to introduce such a scheme.

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The national scheme will see customers pay a deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

Despite consumers not having to pay a deposit on drinks containers under Return & Recycle Orkney, it is hoped the initiative will provide valuable insights into how Scotland’s deposit return scheme is rolled out to rural and island communities.

It will also give islanders the chance to try out using the machines that will be used in the deposit return scheme in advance of the 2023 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, said: “Return & 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 & Recycle Orkney go live. It is a significant milestone and I look forward to the valuable insights it will provide.”