Hayley Matthews: Banking on bottle plan to cut piles of plastic waste

Hallelujah! ­Scotland is leading the way to deal with plastic ­bottles. At the start of the year the BBC set me a ­challenge to give up single-use plastic. The destruction we're causing with our plastic habit is heartbreaking and something I'm passionate about ­tackling.

Many of us thoughtlessly throw away plastic bottles without recycling
Many of us thoughtlessly throw away plastic bottles without recycling

So when Zero Waste Scotland recently asked me to host a webinar for their deposit return scheme public consultation, it was a dream job come true.

I still pick plastic six-pack rings up off the ground, plastic bags and ­bottles and put them in the bin or take them home to recycle – and at seven months pregnant bending to put my shoes on is a struggle. But seriously, could you imagine the benefit of a deposit return scheme for our bonny Scotland?

I’ve often wondered what the motivation is for recycling. Remember the days of taking the glass bottles back to the chippy and getting 5p back for them? Why did it stop? Why do we not have a motivational scheme to entice more people to recycle? These are questions that go through my head over and over and finally it looks like my prayers have been answered.

The devastating impact of single-use items is known far and wide so I’m delighted to be able to lend support to Zero Waste Scotland and spread the message about the importance of adopting a circular economy leading to waste reduction in the near future.

How the deposit scheme is ­shaping up to look is a little like this. Customers pay a small deposit when they buy drinks in, for example, a bottle or a can, and then get the deposit back when they return the empty container for recycling. A public consultation on a deposit return scheme for Scotland was officially opened by the Scottish Government on June 27 and will remain open until ­September 25, so if it’s something you’re passionate about, then please, join me at the webinar to get your questions and views across so that we can all enjoy a greener country that we’ll be proud to show off.

We really need to do something and I admire Norway for their passion on recycling. A total of 95 per cent of all their plastic bottles are now ­recycled, compared with England at the moment where the rate is 57 per cent, and we’re not much better either.

If you’re interested, the live webinar that I’ll be hosting will take place on Monday, August, 27 for those who have questions and can’t make it to an event. The hour-long webinar will be broadcast at zerowastescotland.org.uk and on Facebook Live from 1pm.

If you have questions that you want to put to the panel, they can be ­submitted in advance or as part of the live event on Twitter to @zerowastescot

I’ve managed to pass on my passion to my six-year old, who I’ve ­mentioned many times, and told you how every time he sees a plastic bottle or plastic bag he picks it up because he doesn’t want to “choke the fish” and how proud I am of his awareness. I watched a video recently that breaks it down for kids quite well which you can watch at YouTube. It’s really colourful and easy for kids to watch and some adults might be inspired too.

I have good vibes about the deposit return scheme as it’s a start in the right direction and if we can continue to look at ways to change our destructive habits, then one day we can truly tackle our throwaway culture. All you anti-plastic people, I’ll hopefully see your questions next week.