You might think that Scotland presents an interesting challenge to anyone designing a deposit return system. Clusters of urban development surrounded by wild landscapes, a network of remote islands and rugged coastline and, of course, our legendary weather.

The good news is deposit return systems are already working well in other countries that present similar challenges – Canada, Australia, America, Estonia, Germany and Norway.

And more and more governments are beginning to understand the benefits of deposit return systems. One example of this is the state of New South Wales in Australia.

New South Wales, like Scotland, relies heavily on tourism and promotes its beauty and coastline to the rest of the world. It has vibrant urban centres, as well as remote, isolated areas, with tough terrain and unpredictable, sub-tropical weather.

Although New South Wales is 10 times the size of Scotland, they have been running a successful deposit return scheme since 2017. Through their Return and Earn scheme, they have prevented billions of containers from being discarded as litter or incinerated, while creating green jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Remoteness of some areas isn’t an issue, as the same trucks and boats that carry drinks containers out to remote places can fill up with empty bottles and cans on their way back.

Find out more

An experiment shows how quickly drinks containers get picked up for even a small deposit

This social experiment makes the case for a small deposit very vividly.

How deposit return works in Sweden

Returpack, the Swedish company which manages their deposit return system, is owned by the drinks industry, and made this short film about the process.

How the system works in Estonia

epEesti Pandipakend, the organisation which manages deposit return in Estonia, has a very clear website on the system’s operation. This page, for example, sets out how their system works for packaging companies.

Cash back for used containers, of course we can

Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial in support of deposit return for New South Wales.

Norwegian Deposit Return System in Action

John Mayhew, APRS director, visited Norway with the Have You Got The Bottle? team to find out about how the system works in Norway. Read his blog to find out more.

How Deposit Return works in Finland

Palpa, the organisation who run the Deposit Return System in Finland, handle up to 1.7 billion returned bottles each year. This PowerPoint gives a great explanation of how the system works.


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