Image Credit: Karen Miller

Under a deposit return system the drinks you want to buy will stay at the same price. It’s only at the checkout that you pay a small deposit, which is refunded to you as soon as you return the container.

You don’t have to take it back to where you bought it – any local shop, supermarket or service station will be able to give you your deposit. There will be a really big network of places across Scotland where you can return your containers.

At small stores, bottles and cans are returned to the person behind the counter. In other stores, there will be ‘Reverse Vending Machines’ that you feed your bottles into which know what size the bottles are, what material they’re made from and how much you’re owed for returning them.

It’s really that simple. And the shopkeepers don’t lose out, as they receive an agreed fee, as part of the system, for the time it takes them to return deposits, as well as being compensated for the space the machines take up. 

If you do your grocery shopping online, the same van that brings your delivery can take away your empties and the deposit can be refunded to your account.

Find out more

“Scotland’s world-leading climate change credentials are internationally renowned, and I am keen to share our expertise and experience in this field as well as learning about Scandinavian successes such as Sweden’s deposit-refund recycling scheme.”Richard Lochhead MSP
More info on the Cabinet Secretary’s visit is available on the Scottish Government website.
Research commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland in May 2015 was unable to find any reason a deposit return system wouldn’t be feasible in Scotland.
More info on Zero Waste Scotland’s website
APRS commissioned polling from Survation in May 2015, which showed a deposit return system would be very widely welcomed.


“Social Bite believes every company and individual has a responsibility for reducing waste and their impact on the environment wherever possible. We support any initiative that helps achieve that and we think the deposit return system is a great example. Deposit return systems have become a standard place in so many countries worldwide and the faster the countries who have yet to adopt this get on board the better!”

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