For immediate release, Wednesday 22 February 2017

Coca Cola have today announced their support for a deposit return system for cans and bottles in Scotland, stating in Holyrood Magazine [1] that “the time is right to trial new interventions such as a well-designed deposit scheme for drinks containers, starting in Scotland where conversations are underway”. This is an unprecedented move from the world’s largest manufacturer of soft drinks, which has historically opposed deposit systems around the world prior to their introduction.

This move has been warmly welcomed by the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign [2], which is run by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and backed by a wide range of NGOs, businesses and other organisations. The international evidence is that deposit return systems can help tackle litter, improve recycling, boost the circular economy, and cut costs for local authorities. This approach is also overwhelmingly popular, with a poll showing 78.8% support deposits in Scotland and just 8.5% opposed [3].

John Mayhew, Director of APRS, said:

“This is truly a landmark moment, and we are very pleased to add Coca-Cola to the list of companies which agree that Scotland needs a deposit return system for drinks containers. The momentum is now with the campaign, and I am optimistic that Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham will in due course announce that Scotland will join the growing community of countries around the world which use deposits to boost recycling, cut litter and promote the circular economy.

“The crucial next step is for Ministers to design a system that works well for the public, for local authorities, and for small Scottish businesses, including retailers as well as producers. We know it can be done, and we will continue to argue for a deposit system which takes account of their needs.”

Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation Scotland for the Marine Conservation Society, said:

“The international evidence is clear: a deposit return system for drinks containers is the easiest next step we could take to reduce plastics in the marine environment. It’s great to see Coca-Cola recognise the advantages for them and for society more generally, and we welcome their support for this campaign.

“We know that deposit return won’t tackle all litter, but we also know that it works exceptionally well around the world for drinks containers. With Coca Cola on board the debate changes completely, and we are ready to work with them and Scottish Ministers to ensure the approach we take is best for Scotland.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:

“We very much welcome this move by Coca-Cola, and encourage other drinks manufacturers, retailers and businesses to follow their lead. Well planned deposit return systems have a major role to play in helping to cut wasteful use of resources and preventing marine pollution.

“With Coca-Cola’s name now added to the growing number of supporters of deposit return systems, the Scottish Government should feel confident in moving forward on this issue. We look forward to working with Coca-Cola, all political parties, and others to quickly develop a scheme that works for Scotland’s environment, consumers and businesses.”


1. The full story and longer quotes from Coca Cola are here:
2. The campaign, launched in September 2015, calls on the Scottish Government to bring in a deposit return system under the powers already passed as part of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. More information on the campaign is available here:
3. Survation polled 1,011 Scottish adults aged 16 and over, 12-17 February 2015, on behalf of APRS.
Data were weighted by age, sex, region, 2011 Holyrood vote and 2014 referendum vote. Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. The question asked was: Elsewhere, including in Denmark, Canada and Germany, a small deposit is paid to retailers when you buy drinks cans and bottles and fully refunded by retailers when you return the container, in order to increase recycling and reduce litter. To what extent would you support or oppose the introduction of a similar type of system in Scotland? (results exclude 4.9% who did not give an answer)
Strongly support: 41.1%
Somewhat support: 37.7%
Neither support nor oppose: 12.7%
Somewhat oppose: 5.2%
Strongly oppose: 3.3%