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.


At Remade Network, we want to see a thriving network of repair social enterprises across Scotland – and the world. This means designing out waste from the outset – not just reducing it once it’s created. We want to help people understand how the household goods they use are produced, consumed and disposed of. It is brilliant to see Scotland leading the way on a deposit return system and helping create a waste-free future. We need to shift the emphasis for blaming individual consumers for not doing enough, to creating the facilities and services which allow us all to do more – changing the culture as well as the economy.

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