In the many other countries where a deposit return system is in place, 90%+ of drinks containers are returned for recycling.

The deposit return system separates glass, aluminium and plastic bottles and cans at the point they are returned. This means the materials don’t get contaminated – eg. plastic isn’t mixed with broken glass – so the system results in a large amount of high quality materials, which in turn are very valuable.

A Scottish deposit return system would mean billions of these high quality containers being sent to Scottish recycling companies. They would need to create more jobs to deal with the increase in containers and would have more recycled materials to sell. A strong and stable recycling sector could also attract more investment, as investors would feel confident that Scotland’s businesses would continue to grow.

Research has shown that if there was a UK-wide system, the overall amount of jobs created would be between 3,000 and 4,300.

Drinks containers are large and intrusive. They are easy to spot amongst the heather, along roadsides and floating in lochs. So they make Scotland look ugly and unappealing.

Scotland’s tourism industry contributes £4bn to the economy. Let’s make sure that investment isn’t damaged by litter and that visitors to Scotland will find our towns, countryside and beaches free from bottles and cans.

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The primary reason is the greater volume of high-quality material being returned for recycling, with collection, sorting and transport also providing a major employment boost, according to research by Clarissa Morawski and Dr Jeff Morris.

Total employment generated by recycling beverage containers (excluding employment in recycling operations, which is reported separately) is estimated at almost 745 FTEs. Economic Impacts of the BC Recycling Regulation. Prepared for the Ministry of Environment, Environmental Quality Branch.


“Visiting a mountain bothy is a great way of appreciating Scotland’s natural beauty. The experience can however be blighted if visitors leave behind empty tins, bottles and other litter.  A deposit return system would encourage people to take these items away with them for recycling and thus help to protect our environment and promote more sustainable use of resources. We think that it is a great idea.”

Mountain Bothies Association

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