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Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme

Scotland will soon be the first part of the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. It will be available across all of Scotland and will make it easier for everyone to recycle their used bottles and cans, including all drinks sold in PET plastic, metal and glass.

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 legislation is currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament. The scheme will go live for the public on 1 July 2022. 

Parts of the scheme – including applications for scheme administrators and producer registration – will come into effect before this date.

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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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Essential Information

With Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme going live in 2022, businesses should start to familiarise themselves with the new recycling responsibilities they will have.  

From retail to cash flow, find out what you need to know.  

Cash Flow Explained

In Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme, the 20p deposit added to single-use drinks containers moves around the scheme in a circle, meaning no-one is left out of pocket.  

Find out how the 20p moves through the scheme. 

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Hospitality Sector

Hospitality businesses will have new responsibilities for recycling. Their role in the scheme will vary depending on whether they sell drinks to go or to be consumed on their premises.   

If you are a hospitality business, find out what your role in the scheme will be in the scheme.  

Scheme Administrator

The administrator(s) of the scheme will be responsible for its day-to-day management. From making key decisions on fees and payment terms, to negotiating the handling fee.  

Find out more about the scheme administrator(s).

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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.