In May 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform announced that Scotland will have a deposit return system for all bottles and cans made from PET plastic, metal, and glass. There will be a 20 pence deposit on each of these items, and customers will get their money back when they return their empty to any shop that sells drinks. The Scottish Government intend the system to start in April 2021.

However, the detailed legislation is currently being scrutinised by both the Scottish Parliament and Government. We expect to see a final draft early in 2020, at which point there will be a final parliamentary vote. It’s likely that the major details of the system will remain the same, but there has been pushback from some parts of the packaging and retail industry who want to exclude glass and delay the start date.

You can write to your MSPs and ask them to support an ambitious deposit return system that starts as soon as possible.

Here’s how to find out who your MSPs are: https://www.parliament.scot/msps.aspx

And here are some key points you may wish to make:

  • An estimated 9,000 glass bottles are littered every single day in Scotland. Deposit return will help to significantly tackle this problem.
  • Including glass in Scotland’s deposit return system will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years. This makes up nearly a third (30%) of the total anticipated carbon savings of the scheme.
  • Glass recycled through the scheme will also provide a potential avenue for growth in Scotland’s burgeoning circular economy.
  • The scheme will generate 1.5 million tonnes of recycled glass for use by Scottish industry over 25 years.
  • The Scottish Government have had the powers to introduce a deposit return for more than a decade. We are living in a climate emergency and can’t afford to wait any longer.