For immediate release, 30 June 2017

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, has today announced Scottish Government plans to commission options for a Scotland-specific deposit return system for drinks containers [1]. This decision has been cheered by the Have You Got The Bottle Campaign [2], which is led by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and backed by a broad coalition of businesses, local authorities, and NGOs across Scotland.

78% of the Scottish public back the idea of a fully refundable deposit on empty drinks containers [3], and Scotland is the first country where Coca Cola has called for its introduction [4]. In addition to tackling littered drinks cans and bottles, deposit return boosts recycling, cuts costs for local government, promotes the circular economy, and provides a new revenue stream for retailers and the catering trade.

Jenni Hume, Campaign Manager for the Have You Got The Bottle campaign, which is run by APRS, said:

“This decision by Roseanna Cunningham will break the log-jam on this issue, and today she will be cheered from the rooftops by a wide range of businesses and campaigners. Whether or not organisations are already persuaded that deposit return would work well for Scotland, as it does around the world, we can now look forward to a proper discussion about a Scotland-specific proposal. We will be making the case for a system that works well for the public, for local authorities, and for small Scottish businesses, including retailers and bars as well as producers.

“A lot of work will be required before a final decision, but this is absolutely the correct next step. If Scotland can take the lead here, as with the carrier bag charge, we are very optimistic that England would follow, and there’s also growing interest in Wales and Northern Ireland. A wide range of businesses are already on board, from Coca Cola to small retailers, the public want to see action on litter on land and at sea, and local government want to save money. This feels like a historic step in the right direction.”

Paul Johnston, an independent Councillor on Aberdeenshire Council, said:

“Aberdeenshire Council was the first to back deposit return in public, early last year, and we unanimously endorsed the idea across all political groups. Deposit return would mean less litter in our beautiful towns and countryside, and help prevent plastic waste from entering our marine environment and littering our beaches.

“Single use drinks containers make up a massive volume of litter that Scottish councils have to deal with. A well designed scheme in Scotland would save us substantial sums on recycling and cleanup. I would urge all local authorities in Scotland to get on board and make the case for a system that works well both for councils and for the people we represent.”

James Wrobel, owner of Cornelius Beer and Wine, an independent off-licence in Edinburgh, said:

“This is great news for retailers across Scotland and for bars and the catering trade. We always strive to be responsible businesses in the communities we operate in, and now it’s time for the Scottish Government to come back with a system that works for everyone and protects the interests of small retailers.”

David Wood, CEO of Community Resources Network Scotland, said:

“CRNS welcomes this announcement from the Scottish Government and believes that a well-designed deposit return system here Scotland has the potential to increase recycling and combat climate change. CRNS will continue to be part of the ‘Have You Got the Bottle’ campaign and continue to actively encourage the third sector to participate in designing the optimal deposit system for Scotland.”


James Mackenzie – 07921 333 617 /


  1. For the Scottish Government release, see:

  1. 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:

  1. 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%


  1. See: