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  1. ITV Report

The Estonian plastic bottle deposit scheme Scotland hopes to emulate

A delegation of environmental campaigners and shop owners from Scotland is on a fact finding trip to Estonia where plastic recycling rates are nearly twice what they are back home.

Estonia is one of several European countries with a plastic bottle deposit return scheme.

In the 12 years since it was launched, 3.2 billion drinks containers have been recycled. Some 90% of plastics bottles are recycled in the country.

A similar scheme has been proposed in England, but the Scottish government, often ahead on environmental matters, is already well into a consultation process.

The team of retailers and campaigners from Scotland travelled to Estonia to learn lessons and gather ideas.

People are paid for returning drink containers. Credit: ITV News

In Estonia, the machines can detect foreign-made bottles, an issue that could be particularly crucial in Scotland if the scheme is introduced there before it is in England.

John Mayhew from the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland told ITV News: "We're going to be talking to the operators about how they cope with that and whether they have any problems with containers transferring backwards and forwards across the border."

But the scheme could place a bigger burden on small businesses who do not have the space to store returned bottles.

Edinburgh newsagent Ferhan Ashiq spoke to his Estonian counterparts, about the problem of storage. He said he would have to store bottles returned to his shop behind the counter in plastic bags.

"The likes of Tescos, Sainsburys, Lidls, they'll be fine with that. they'll be able to facilitate that. but small retailers wouldn't be. Retailers such as myself wouldn't have the space to deal with this."