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.

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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.


“As a small and growing Scottish restaurant chain with locations in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling we handle a lot of empty drinks containers. As a result, we pay a significant amount of money each year to have empties uplifted for recycling. A deposit return system in Scotland would likely mean these uplifts are provided for free by those who run the system – as is the case in countries who already have deposit return. This would save Boozy Cow a lot of money and might even bring in a small amount of extra cash instead. I should think anyone in the Scottish restaurant trade would find that prospect equally appealing. Deposit return works for businesses like ours in other countries. It’s time for deposit return here.”

The Boozy Cow

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