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 recycling facilities. 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. In Scotland, it is estimated that roughly 500 jobs will be created across the country in bulking centres alone.

As Scotland’s tourism industry contributes £4bn to the economy, it is vital that we reduce the litter we see in our countryside, towns, and waterways for both residents and tourists alike. Deposit return has the potential to greatly decrease our litter rates, ensuring that our landscape is kept beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

Find out more

Beverage container deposit systems provide 11 to 38 times more direct jobs than kerbside recycling systems for beverage containers

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.

Evidence from British Columbia shows deposit return led to a substantial boost to employment

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.


“Small Scottish grocers like ours are at the heart of our communities. We want to be part of a culture where nothing is wasted, and where empties are reused or recycled. A deposit return system needs to take account of the needs of shops that are too small to take part, and it needs to work well for all the retailers who do get involved.”

Tattie Shaws

Our Partners