UP to 90% of plastic bottles thrown away in Scotland’s streets and public spaces could disappear after the country’s deposit return scheme is launched later this year, it has been predicted.

Zero Waste Scotland said the Scottish Government’s 20p deposit scheme for single-use drinks bottles and cans could reduce the number of discarded plastic bottles by more than 11 million each year.

The Government-funded campaign group says a “staggering” 694 million plastic bottles are used in Scotland each year, with Government figures suggesting almost 12.5 million of them are dropped as litter.

The 90% target of reducing littered bottles would result in almost 31,000 plastic bottles not being discarded across Scotland each day, including 3500 in Glasgow and 1000 in the Western Isles.

Jill Farrell, Zero Waste Scotland’s chief operating officer, said: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme is going to make people think twice about dropping their empty bottles.

“Our new figures reveal just how big a difference that will make in reducing litter all across Scotland.

“From our beaches to the parks in our cities, there will be fewer bottles and cans spoiling our beautiful country.”

She added: “Scotland’s deposit return scheme will give people a 20p incentive to do

the right thing with their empty bottles and cans – 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.”

Under the scheme, people will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks in single-use plastic or glass bottles and aluminium or steel cans, which will be refunded when they are returned to shops for recycling.

The scheme will operate throughout Scotland for all types of drinks and all containers between 50 millilitres and three litres but excluding pubs, restaurants and cafes selling drinks to be consumed on site.

The Scottish Government said an independent, privately-run but not-for-profit company will run the deposit return scheme, paid for by unredeemed deposits, revenue from the sale of materials and a producer fee.