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Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme Announced

The Scottish Government has announced the design of the national Deposit Return Scheme, a blueprint for a world-class recycling system that makes it easy for everyone to recycle their bottles and cans. Scotland is the first nation in the UK to commit to a scheme which is proudly ambitious and it has been tailored to Scotland’s unique needs.

Deposit return is already established in many other countries as an effective way of diverting resources from being thrown pointlessly away. In Scotland, we currently recycle just half of all containers. The deposit return system aims to capture 90% of all containers included in the scheme for recycling which will amount to 1.5 billion containers each year. With over 17,000 return points across Scotland, it will be just as easy to return a drinks container as it is to buy one.


How will it work?

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme has been designed to make it easy for us all to do the right thing. When consumers buy a a drink to takeaway in a shop, hospitality business or online, they will pay a small deposit of 20p on top of the retail price.

Consumers can reclaim their deposit when they return their empty bottle or can to a retail, hospitality or community return point. Online retailers will also be included in the scheme, ensuring its accessible to people that are dependant on delivery.

As well as retailers and hospitality businesses, schools and other community hubs will be able to act as return locations.

The following materials are cover by the scheme:

  • PET plastic bottles (like most fizzy drinks and water bottles)
  • Steel and aluminium cans
  • Glass bottles



Learn more



Visit Zero Waste Scotland’s online content hub for more information on the Deposit Return Scheme including latest updates and FAQs.

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