OVER 275,000 plastic bottles could be kept out of the environment in North Ayrshire thanks to a pioneering new scheme that will encourage people to recycle more and litter less.

Figures published by environmental body Zero Waste Scotland reveal the scale of plastic bottle dumping in North Ayrshire – and how it will be reduced by Scotland’s forthcoming 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. People will get their money back when they return their empty container for recycling.

That 20p will give people an extra incentive to recycle their empty bottles and cans, and make people think twice about dropping them.

The new figures show that:

People in North Ayrshire go through 17.1 million plastic bottles every year

An estimated 309,000 plastic bottles are littered in North Ayrshire each year

With a 20p incentive not to throw away your empties, Zero Waste Scotland anticipates a 90 per cent reduction in litter for the materials included in the scheme. This would mean as many as 278,000 fewer plastic bottles dropped in North Ayrshire each year.

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

Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland said: “Our new figures reveal how Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme could visibly slash the number of littered plastic bottles in North Ayrshire.

“We all hate seeing empty bottles and cans littering our streets, green spaces and beaches. The great thing about Scotland’s Deposit Return 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.”