Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland to be considered

Zero Waste Scotland has been asked to investigate design options and the associated costs and benefits of a Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland.

Deposit return schemes enable consumers to pay a small deposit that is fully refundable once the empty bottle is returned. There is strong belief that the scheme can reduce litter and increase recycling.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Clearly there are a number of issues for the Scottish Government to consider when it comes to deposit return schemes that can only be addressed by carrying out work to understand the design of a potential system. I have asked Zero Waste Scotland to start this work.

“Progress will be overseen by a steering group involving representatives from the packaging industry, retailers and environmental groups, and followed by a full public consultation to ensure we are as well-informed as possible before any decisions are made.”

Meanwhile, Zero Waste Scotland has published the findings of which areas should be further investigated. The report specifically considers: current recycling rates for items that might be targeted by a deposit system; the costs and benefits from a deposit system for local authority collection services; the potential anti-litter impacts of a deposit return system; how consumer behaviour might be expected to change in the presence of a deposit system, and the value of consumer’s contribution to a deposit return system; the costs and benefits for manufacturers and retailers from a deposit system; and the potential impact of a deposit system on material quality.