Scotland plans deposit return scheme for bottles and cans

Drinks cans

Based on a Scandinavia scheme, Scotland plans a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, customers would pay a surcharge when buying the item that would be reimbursed when they returned to the shop.


Organisation Zero Waste Scotland reviewed schemed in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Scottish government have been consulting with them on the design of the deposit return scheme which the government believe could save local authorities between £3 million to £6 million on litter clearance alone.



A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “We have already confirmed that we are looking at new ways to ensure we keep as many valuable materials in circulation for as long as possible and deposit return is one of those options. We have asked Zero Waste Scotland to model a deposit return system to help us assess impacts and benefits.”


However not everyone is in favour of the scheme, AG Barr, the makers of Irn Bru said that “the cost to the consumer would be in the region of £150m extra per year” in its submission. Adding “The scope for fraud in a Scottish DRS is huge. On a small scale we could see people scavenging in bins for containers, as is the US experience. On a medium scale there is the potential for local authority amenity centre looting. And on a larger scale there is the very real possibility of cross-border trafficking of deposit-bearing containers. It costs around £400 to move a lorry load of cans from England to Scotland. A single lorry could carry 160,000 crushed cans or £32,000 worth of deposits.”

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