SOME 10 years ago, when I was living in Denmark, there was a recycling machine in our local supermarket – a shop about the same size as a city-centre supermarket is here – and in most other grocery stores.

The machines were essentially identical to the ones involved in the proposed Scottish system. There were also bottle banks on virtually every block in Copenhagen, where glass containers not covered by the scheme could be dropped.

I used to do this once a week on the way to work.

The machines dispensed a voucher, similar to the ones I assume are being proposed here. These were surrendered at the cash desk as part of the payment for your shopping. There were no extra journeys involved in this process, as anyone capable of transporting their purchases home was quite capable of carrying the empties on the return journey.

For those who don’t have ready access to a supermarket, I expect the average shop’s barcode reader could serve the same purpose.

Denmark, with a population almost identical to Scotland’s, was able to operate this system within a single market, the EU, without the problems Westminster conveniently foresees in the UK single market.

A couple of years earlier, I lived in Australia, where South Australia also managed to operate a DRS for many years before the rest of the country started to catch up, without distorting the Australian single market, or its VAT regime.

Accepting the fact that much of the resistance here is either deliberately confected or simply uninformed, to have arrived at this stage of the legislation process without, apparently, having solved the problems associated with it is quite incredible. We seem to be determined to create situations that gift the advantage to our opponents.

On the question of whether this proposal is a drop in the ocean in tackling either global or national litter pollution, the same could be – and regularly is – said about individual climate-change initiatives, with just as little justification.

By the way, I was one of those wee boys who used to scour the neighbourhood looking for discarded or not-so-discarded ginger bottles to exchange for 3d or – if we managed to collect enough – a rather fuller bottle of said ginger.

I can vouch for the fact that attempting to return a full crate of bottles, including the crate recently lifted from behind a local shop, was not a successful strategy.

Cameron Crawford


I HAVE recently finished reading Gerry Hassan’s book Scotland Rising, an excellent work.

On Tuesday, I read his column in our newspaper and thought: “Thank goodness our movement has such a thinker”.

There is no disrespect intended to the other good thinkers we have, but Mr Hassan is supreme among them.

I agree with a part of his piece where he states that indyref2 is not imminent. I myself was never convinced it was, and believe now it actually wasn’t.

I am of the opinion that this needs now to become a realistic awareness in the independence movement.

This, of course, does not mean that indy activism should be put on hold or stop (heaven forbid!). In fact, it requires to be increased with renewed argument and different emphasis.

All my political and trade union life, while I was never a deep thinker on issues that I was active in, I was always cautious and patient while understanding the need to act quickly on occasions.

Over my years of activism, my reliance on patience paid off many times.

Bobby Brennan