Scottish businesses, charities, social enterprises and local government have lined up to welcome the First Minister’s announcement during today’s Programme for Government speech that Scottish Ministers will introduce a deposit return system for Scotland. Detailed proposals for a Scottish system are currently being worked up at the instruction of Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and a final design is expected to be published around the turn of the year.

This announcement represents a major success for the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign, whose call for a Scottish deposit system has already been backed by more than ninety organisations, including businesses, local authorities, outdoor sports organisations and universities [1]. A small fully refundable deposit on empty drinks containers has been proven elsewhere to reduce litter, boost recycling, and contribute to the circular economy. A Survation poll indicated that 78% of the Scottish public support deposits [2], and Scotland is the first country where Coca Cola has called for its introduction [3].

John Mayhew, Director of APRS, which runs the Have You Got The Bottle campaign, said:

“The First Minister’s announcement today that Scotland will have a deposit return will be enthusiastically welcomed by responsible businesses, including retailers, brewers, the recycling industry, and the hospitality trade. It will also be a relief for the millions of Scots who hate to see our towns and countryside strewn with litter. Now is the time to ensure that the details are right – that retailers get fairly rewarded for taking part, that local government can save as much money as possible – and all the relevant voices need to be heard.

“Just as the carrier bag charge was a success from the start, we are confident that a deposit return system will work for the public, for business, and for local government. Ministers take pride in the carrier bag charge decision to this day, just as they should be proud of today’s announcement, and a Scottish deposit system will set the agenda for England, Wales and Northern Ireland too.”

Scott Williams of Williams Bros Brewing Co. in Alloa said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Scotland is to have a deposit return system for glass, metal and plastic drinks containers.  The mechanics will be simple to organise and the environmental rewards will be tremendous on many levels.  What’s not to like?”

Adrian Roper, Head of Public Affairs & Communications, at the NFRN said:

“The NFRN, the Federation of Independent Retailers, welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce a deposit return system for Scotland.

“This is a major step to tackling and reducing our plastic waste.  Our members are responsible retailers and want to operate in communities not blighted by litter cans and bottles.  We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to design the best possible system for Scotland.”

Independent Aberdeenshire Councillor Paul Johnston said:

“Last year my colleagues on Aberdeenshire Council voted unanimously to support deposit return, given the litter reduction we could expect, and the cost savings associated with both litter cleanup and recycling. This announcement will be warmly welcomed across local government, especially with our budgets under pressure as they are.

1. The full list of campaign partners is here:

2. 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%

3. See: