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Regulations laid for Scotland’s 20p Deposit Return Scheme for drink cans, plastic and glass bottles

The regulations provide specific guidance on the responsibilities of both drinks producers and retailers.

Full details and FAQs are available on our dedicated deposit return website.

Deposit return is operated in many countries and works by the consumer paying a small deposit in addition to the retail price when they buy a single use container. In Scotland the deposit will be 20p.

People get their deposit back when they return the container to a shop or other return point. They can hand back over the counter, through a reverse vending machine, or via online retailers, who must offer a takeback service.

The materials included in the scheme are:

  • PET plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Aluminium and steel cans


What are the benefits of a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland?

Scotland is the first nation in the UK to commit to a scheme which will generate carbon savings, tackle climate change and prevent litter.

  • Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will tackle climate change and reduce emissions by 4 million tonnes of CO2 over 25 years.
  • Deposit return will mean better recycling and improve the quality of material recycled. More bottles and cans will be recycled into items of the same use or quality – like bottles being recycled back into bottles.
  • Scotland currently recycles just half of all containers. The scheme will capture 90% of all containers included in the scheme for recycling.
  • Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will deliver economic benefits for Scotland related to reduced litter clean up, reductions in negative impacts of litter and economic gain from reducing carbon emissions.


When will the scheme be implemented?

The regulations for Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme were published on the 10th of September 2019 by the Scottish Parliament. Once the legislation process is complete, there will be a period of at least 12 months to get ready before the scheme becomes operational.

Zero Waste Scotland have advised the Scottish Government on scheme design and is providing support on its implementation. To read more about Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme click here.

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