How does it work: For business

Deposit return would bring a range of benefits to business in Scotland. We have a growing number of campaign partners from the catering and hospitality, retail and manufacturing sectors. They have signed up to call for a deposit return system in Scotland because they don’t want to miss out on the benefits it will bring them.

Businesses in Scotland’s catering and hospitality sectors already collect empty drinks cans and bottles from their customers and generally pay for them to be taken away as trade waste. In countries with deposit return, companies like these are instead paid a small handling fee for each container returned, in addition to the refund of the deposit. What business wouldn’t like to swap a regular cost for a little revenue?

The recycling process is more convenient too. The experience from elsewhere is that collections can also be arranged as required, including at short notice, so no-one ever has to wait to have bags of empties collected. Businesses in Norway typically use an app to request pick up of any bottles that hold a deposit.

Retailers and off-licenses, who sell drinks to be consumed elsewhere, would expect to see increased footfall from customers returning empties to their premises. They would also receive a small handling fee and, as in other countries with deposit return, would be free to choose the system that works best for them, either taking empties back over the counter or through a reverse vending machine.

Scottish bottlers and manufacturers can use deposit return to help create a strong circular economy that sets Scotland up for future economic success. Deposit return would ensure more of the packaging they use is returned and the materials reused, rather than ending up as litter – and damaging their brand – or in landfill. Deposit return in other countries has improved the quality and affordability of recycled materials collected, so local bottlers and manufacturers can benefit from using these. Our business briefing explains the benefits here.

Retailers and off-licenses, who sell drinks to be consumed elsewhere, would expect to see increased footfall from customers returning empties to their premises. They would also receive a small handling fee per container and, as in other countries with deposit return, would be free to choose the system that works best for them, either taking empties back over the counter or through a reverse vending machine. Smaller retailers would also be able to choose not to take part if they preferred.

“Not only is a deposit return system staggeringly effective, it would also be easy – even for a small business like ours. Over the counter collections of tins and PET could (and should) be implemented tomorrow; dramatically reducing waste and making a small indent in our overheads”.

Cornelius Beer & Wine, Edinburgh.

Businesses in Scotland’s catering and hospitality sectors already collect empty drinks cans and bottles from their customers and generally pay for them to be taken away as trade waste. In countries with deposit return, companies like these are instead paid a small handling fee for each container returned (in addition to the refund of the deposit). What business wouldn’t like to swap a regular cost for a little revenue? The process is more convenient too.

We asked a restaurateur in Oslo to explain how simple the process is. Here’s what he told us:

“I don’t think that recycling brings a lot of extra work, it may be so in the beginning when you are implementing the new  system but with good routines it is no problem whatsoever. Plastic bottles and metal cans are separated into two different bags.  When these bags are full, a member of staff logs into the system operator’s website and orders a pickup for them. This is free of charge and the bags are usually collected the next day. Glass bottles are placed in the same boxes that they are delivered in and are picked up when new deliveries arrive. Any glass bottles that do not have a deposit value (like wine bottles and some other products) are thrown into our own glass-waste buckets and dumped into the glass-waste containers.”

Manager, Egon Restaurant, Norway

We have a number of supporters from the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Sector in our coalition, who are looking forward to using deposit return in Scotland.

“We piloted a deposit return system in our farm shop at Whitmuir because, as farmers, we know that recycling reduces waste and that’s good for our countryside, our climate and our planet”.

Whitmuir Farm, West Linton

“The vision for 2030 should be a Scotland without waste and litter so let’s get that started by recycling more of our cans, and plastic and glass bottles.”

Boda Bars, Edinburgh

“Comrie Croft is an eco award winning holiday destination. We believe in looking after the environment and actively promote zero waste. Everyone should recycle, having a reward for doing so will encourage more people to do it, making for less rubbish in landfills.”

Comrie Croft, Perthshire

“We are very happy to support the creation of a deposit return system in Scotland. As a rural business and as a family we do our best to minimise waste but find that being so rural some of our customers aren’t so eager. This would be a great incentive to get recycling rates up and reduce litter. Win-win!”

Burmieston, Dunkeld

“At Skylark we already recycle all of our drinks containers, so with a deposit return system the only change would be that we would no longer have to pay for it to be collected! It just doesn’t make sense for us to have to pay someone to come and take away a valuable resource.”

The Skylark​

Scottish bottlers and manufacturers can use deposit return to help create a strong circular economy that sets Scotland up for future economic success. Deposit return would ensure more of the packaging they use is returned and the materials reused, rather than ending up as litter or in landfill. Deposit return in other countries has improved the quality of recycled materials collected, so local bottlers and manufacturers can benefit from using these.

Comment

“As a community development charity with environmental objectives that operates in one of Scotland’s most beautiful, biodiverse and popular tourism areas we support a deposit return system. Sadly pollution from plastics and other materials people throw away  is a problem on Mull and Iona, degrading both the local environmental and visitors’ experience.  Working on an island we also have the challenge of limited space and resources for landfilling and processing.  So initiatives (particularly schemes like this which are proven to work) that tackle littering and promote recycling will benefit both local people and those who visit our special islands!”

Mull and Iona Community Trust


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