AS MANY as 184,000 plastic bottles could be kept out of the environment in West Dunbartonshire under the Scottish Government’s new deposit return scheme.

Under the scheme, shoppers will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks purchased in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans, and will get their money back when they return their empty container for recycling.

Figures published by environmental body Zero Waste Scotland show people in West Dunbartonshire go through 11.4 million plastic bottles every year, and an estimated 205,000 plastic bottles are littered in the area annually.

With a 20p incentive not to throw away empties, Zero Waste Scotland anticipates a 90 per cent reduction in litter for the materials included in the scheme.

This would mean 184,000 fewer plastic bottles dropped in West Dunbartonshire each year.

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Jill Farrell, chief operating officer of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Our new figures reveal how Scotland’s deposit return scheme could visibly slash the number of littered plastic bottles in West Dunbartonshire.

“We all hate seeing empty bottles and cans littering our streets, greenspaces and beaches. The great thing about the scheme is it will give people a 20p incentive to do the right thing with their empty bottles – take them back for recycling, rather than risk them ending up on our streets or in our rivers.

“Litter isn’t just an eyesore – it also pollutes our environment and seas. And for every bottle littered, more plastic has to be created, generating more planet-damaging emissions. When you take back your empty bottles to be recycled, you’ll not just be getting your 20p back – you’ll be doing your bit in the fight against the climate emergency.”

And with plastic bottles only one of the materials included in the scheme, the overall impact on litter is expected to be even higher.