SEVEN out of 10 Scots support the introduction of deposit return on drink bottles and cans in Scotland, a new poll has found.

While the Scottish Government has come under fire from some in the drinks industry over plans to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in August, 86% of people surveyed said they would use it either some or all of the time.

The initiative will see shoppers charged a 20p deposit on all drinks brought in single-use cans and bottles with this cash refunded to them once they bring the empty containers back for recycling.

It is hoped the scheme will boost recycling rates and reduce littering – with 90% agreeing littering is a problem in Scotland.

The poll was conducted by the Diffley Partnership, with director and founder Mark Diffley saying the results of the survey were “clear and unambiguous” and showed “strong public support for the DRS among all sections of the population”.

The survey, carried out for TOMRA – a firm which produces reverse vending machines used to return empty bottles – found 72% wanted to see DRS introduced across the UK.

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The UK Government has put forward its own proposals for a similar scheme, which is not due to come into force until 2025, with 65% of people questioned pleased Scotland is to be the first part of the UK to have such a system.

Of the 1,080 people who were questioned, 42% said they would use DRS all the time, with 44% saying they would participate in the scheme sometimes, but not all the time.

Meanwhile, only 14% said they would never use it.

Fewer than a fifth of people were opposed to the initiative with 8% saying they would “somewhat oppose” it while 10% described themselves as being strongly opposed to it.

In contrast, 43% said they strongly supported the introduction of DRS with 27% saying they “somewhat” supported it.

The biggest driver encouraging people to use the scheme is to prevent damage to the natural environment and animals, with this cited as a reason by 53%.

Mr Diffley said: “The data in this polling is clear and unambiguous, showing strong public support for the DRS among all sections of the population.

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“There appears to be a strong correlation between environmental concerns and support for DRS, with support for the scheme being particularly high among those who are most concerned about climate change, and who are motivated to using the scheme by a desire to stop damage to the environment.”

SNP leadership candidate 

Ash Regan has said she would scrap the scheme in its current form if she is elected. 

Kate Forbes has said it should be paused while Humza Yousaf pledged to bring in an exemption for small businesses for the first year of operation. 

John Lee, vice president for public affairs for the UK and Ireland at TOMRA, said the firm wanted to “ensure businesses and consumers are aware and prepared for the changes”.

He added: “As part of our work we were keen to understand public opinion on the ground in Scotland, and the data gathered by the Diffley Partnership is extremely useful in helping us to understand that.

“International evidence suggests that DRS could reduce litter by a third, thereby increasing Scotland’s chances of meeting our climate change targets, and TOMRA’s experience across Europe suggests that he recycling return rate will be anywhere between 92% and 98%.

“We are here to offer our knowledge and experience to ensure that Scotland’s journey to DRS is as smooth as it can be.”

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens minister in charge of introducing the DRS scheme, said: “It’s no surprise to see the public are firmly in favour of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS), which is a major part of our efforts to reduce littering, cut emissions, and address the climate emergency.

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“On track to launch in August, Scotland’s DRS will reduce littering by a third and CO2 emissions by four million tonnes over 25 years. That’s equivalent to taking 83,000 cars off the road – and it is just the latest in a series of successful examples in countries like Denmark, Germany, and Canada.

“Businesses have also voted with their feet with 664 drinks producers, representing over 90% of the total volume of drinks containers sold in Scotland each year, already registered for the scheme.

“They don’t want broken bottles or plastic litter on our streets, parks and beaches either, and they recognise that this scheme is the way to end that blight.”