Deposit Return exemptions

What is a deposit return scheme?

11 May 23 2 minutes

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 when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

Deposit return schemes are already established in many countries where they are helping to tackle climate change and reduce litter. 

What is a deposit return scheme?

Deposit return schemes are used across the world as a way of encouraging more people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans. They work by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the bottle or can that it comes in. They get this money back when they return the bottle or can to a collection point to be recycled.

How will Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme work?

People will pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use drinks container and get their deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can to any return point in Scotland. 

Retailers who sell these drinks will need to operate a return point unless they have been granted an exemption. This is to make it as easy to return a drinks container as it was to buy it in the first place. 

Why is a deposit return scheme a good thing for Scotland?

A Deposit Return Scheme, delivers the following environmental benefits: 

  • More and better recycling
  • Less litter
  • Reduced carbon emissions  

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will dramatically increase the number of drinks containers being recycled, it will improve the quality of our recycling (which leads to other benefits) and it will tackle the litter problem we see on our streets and in our parks.

All this cuts carbon emissions and helps tackle climate change. It changes how we think about waste, making the best use of our resources and putting a circular economy into action.