All across Scotland, whenever cans or bottles are discarded, it’s up to local council staff to go round picking them up. It’s hard work, and the amount of litter makes it extremely expensive for local taxpayers. Reducing litter, which deposit return systems do around the world, would save both councils and the public substantial sums across the country.

Litter isn’t just expensive to deal with – it’s also really unpopular, and for good reason. Who wants to take their kids to play in a park strewn with empty bottles? Or to find discarded cans in their garden? A well-run deposit return system will help every community in Scotland, whether rural or urban, look more attractive, and be more appealing to live and work in.

There are other benefits for local councils, too. Some cans and bottles are of course already collected through kerbside recycling, and even though they are less well-sorted than the material recovered by a deposit return system, they do have a value. However, a deposit return system will typically save money overall by reducing both the volume of recycling that councils need to collect and the number of journeys council vehicles need to make.

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Local government in New South Wales lobbied for a deposit return system, estimating it would save them $62m each year.

Local authorities estimated that it would cut their recycling bills by 40%. New South Wales will begin a deposit return system in July 2017.

A review of proposals for Catalonia estimated that between €12m and €33m would be saved by municipalities on collection alone

The executive summary of the February 2014 report can be found here.


“Summerhall is a versatile hub for the creative industries with over 120 companies on site, 10 performances spaces, over 15 galleries, a busy live music programme, bar-restaurant, a cafe and a shop. The presence of Summerhall within Edinburgh evolves daily based upon the events taking place within our facilities and as such our infrastructure must adapt constantly if we are to remain sustainable. Summerhall strongly supports a deposit return system for Scotland in the hope of creating a better country to live in for us all.”


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