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Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme

The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of a deposit return scheme for Scotland, meaning that Scotland will soon be the first part of the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.  

As part of our recycling system It will be available across all of Scotland from 1 July 2022,  and will make it easier for everyone to recycle their used bottles and cans, including all drinks sold in PET plastic, metal and glass. 

On the 17th November 2021, the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater, provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s forthcoming Deposit Return Scheme, which is currently due to go live in July 2022.

The Minister noted the impact of the pandemic and EU Exit on key industry groups charged with delivering the scheme, and advised that she will return to the Scottish Parliament shortly with an update on timescales and milestones towards implementation of the scheme. 

Have a question?

Go to Frequently Asked Questions

How will it work?

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme has been designed to make it easy for us all to do the right thing. People pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

When will it start?

The scheme will go live for the public on 1 July 2022.  However, an independent Gateway Review into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the go-live date for Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme was announced by the Cabinet Secretary in March 2021.

The Scottish Government appointed a scheme administrator in March 2021 – Circularity Scotland Ltd is a newly formed, not-for-profit organisation and will manage the logistics of the deposit return scheme.

Other parts of the regulations will come into effect before the scheme goes live, to make sure it is ready on day one.  

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The benefits

Deposit return schemes are already established in many countries where they are helping to tackle climate change and reduce litter. Scotland is joining them, with a scheme designed to meet our unique needs, to tackle our throwaway culture and help protect our environment for generations to come.

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Exemptions Application Service

With Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme going live in 2022, businesses should familiarise with any return point obligations they will have. 

Under some circumstances, businesses will be able to apply for an exemption. Find out more about what this means.

Voluntary Return Point

Under Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme regulations, all retailers who sell, to consumers on their premises, in-scope drinks for take away must operate a return point. 

Other organisations for example, transport hubs or shopping centres can apply to become a return point. We refer to these as voluntary return points. Find out more. 

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Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will offer a range of benefits

The scheme has been designed to work for everyone in Scotland. It will improve recycling rates, increase the quality of recycling materials, and significantly reduce litter.

20p deposit on drinks containers

70+% of Scots want a Deposit Return Scheme

34,000 fewer plastic bottles littered every day

76,000 additional tonnes recycled each year

17,000+ return points nationwide

90% of containers included in the scheme will be captured for recycling

£62million a year could be saved tackling the indirect impacts of litter

4million tonnes of CO2eq emissions will be cut over 25 years

News and Blog posts

The latest press releases, news articles and blog posts on Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme.

Update - 17th November 2021

Today (17th November 2021) the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater, provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s forthcoming Deposit Return Scheme, which is currently due to go live in July 2022.