WITH environmental campaigners claiming that any further delay to the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) would be “frankly unbearable” doesn’t it seem that, not for the first time, we are allowing lobbyists to rush the train to the terminus without stopping at stations to pick up passengers?

Like with gender reform, aren’t these environmental campaigners seeking to circumvent the “wisdom”, the measured consideration of our legislators in the rush to get the scheme going; any scheme just as long as it’s a scheme, and irrespective of its effectiveness and potential to actually resolve the problem?

As things stand, those designing this scheme are placing the onus on product and service suppliers and manufacturers. Scant consideration appears to be being given to the cost of the scheme and the practicality of its workings, which will impact adversely on consumers.

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We consumers are largely being left in the dark, because there is no prescription or detail for how this scheme will affect us. It’s just another regulation being inflicted on us.

How much will it cost us? Which products are affected? Will each bottle or can in a multi-pack attract the levy? Where to return to? How will small business cope? How will the elderly cope? Will this end the fortnightly green recycling bin collection? If not, doesn’t DRS simply replicate an existing service? Should we save our material now to reap the deposit returns when the scheme begins? What alternatives to glass, plastic, and metal containers are being offered? If none, how can the scheme begin without this? Shouldn’t we be told the precise details of how the scheme operates and its costs before it is passed by parliament for introduction?

I see warning bells here. Driven by a vociferous lobby group (yes, again) the Scottish Government is about to launch a scheme which is at best premature in its timing, but also woefully inadequate in its design.

Reduce, reuse and recycle.

It’s plastic that’s proving to be the biggest environmental disaster that free-market capitalism has inflicted on us. It’s a material that doesn’t break down beyond micro-beads, a state which once in the environment is impossible to break down further, and which is now polluting our food chain. Why are we selling drinks and food in plastic containers anyway? Isn’t it plastic, bottles and food packaging, that is most prevalent where litter builds up? If we’re serious about the problem, rather than the “sticking plaster” of DRS, shouldn’t we be legislating to end single-use plastic product packaging containers wherever possible? Isn’t that the real joined-up thinking?

READ MORE: The deposit return scheme clearly won't be ready to roll out in August

This scheme is ill-thought-out, difficult to manage and will be costly in its implementation; another burden for hard-pressed consumers, and a financial wound being deliberately inflicted by our own government. That’s not what good government is supposed to do in a democracy.

I agree with the need for environmental considerations and the recycling of materials, but we need joined-up thinking here. We need government, business and consumers to all be on the same side to make it work. However long it’s taken for this scheme to get this far, it’s clearly woefully flawed and needs a root-and-branch review, preferably scrapped and redesigned.

It’s not government’s job to tick the boxes of vociferous lobby groups at the expense of the people and businesses they’re supposed to represent and listen to. If I want to be preached to, I’ll go to church. I don’t need environmental campaigners bullying us by forcing their opinions without any consideration for those who don’t acquiesce to their inane myopic mantra.

Jim Taylor