Environment Secretary announces next steps to explore opportunities of Deposit Return Scheme.

January 2, 2016
Reverse Vending BottleBill Project Scotland Reverse Vending Corporation

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead

Environment Secretary announces next steps to explore opportunities of Deposit Return Scheme.

Retailer costs and the implications for small stores need further consideration before a decision is reached on a deposit return scheme for Scotland, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has said.

It comes as a Zero Waste Scotland report is published today identifying some of the issues involved in setting up and operating such a system. The report summarises evidence from deposit return experts and operators from other countries as well as drinks companies and trade bodies, retailers and logistics companies, environmental organisations and local government.

The Environment Secretary confirmed he has commissioned further research from Zero Waste Scotland – and intends to discuss the issues further with other Ministers from across the UK.


Mr Lochhead said:

“Like carrier bag charging, deposit return schemes attach a value to items that can otherwise be viewed as waste, and have proven successful in other countries at reducing litter and increasing recycling.

“The evidence gathered by Zero Waste Scotland highlights some of the potential benefits and concerns associated with a deposit return system for Scotland. I am listening closely as I consider whether such a scheme – which has worked successfully in other countries – would be right for Scotland.

(L-R) Sofie Rogers, Store Sustainability Responsible (IKEA); Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment; Iain Gulland, Director Zero Waste Scotland; Sean McArthur, Food Manager and Sustainability Manager (IKEA) in front of a reverse vending pilot project for glass , aluminium and PET at the Edinburgh IKEA store.

(L-R) Sofie Rogers, Store Sustainability Responsible (IKEA); Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment; Iain Gulland, Director Zero Waste Scotland; Sean McArthur, Food Manager and Sustainability Manager (IKEA) in front of a reverse vending pilot project for glass , aluminium and PET at the Edinburgh IKEA store.

Mr Lochhead said:

“In light of Belgium’s recent suggestion for an EU-wide deposit return scheme to help tackle litter and recycling, I intend to invite Ministers from Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK Government to Edinburgh next spring to discuss these new findings.


Mr Lochhead said:

“In the meantime, I have asked Zero Waste Scotland to undertake further work to look into the important issues raised by businesses, NGOs, and local government which include the implications for small stores, costs to retailers, and changes in customer behaviour where a deposit return scheme has been in place.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s study earlier this year explored the role that such a scheme could play in reducing litter, complementing local authority recycling services, and improving the quality of materials recycled.

Reverse Vending at IKEA

IKEA Reverse Vending Machine gives 10p reward for each used IKEA drink can or bottle returned through a Reverse Vending Machine

Original Story

Notes To Editors

At the request of Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland published a feasibility study, by Eunomia Consulting, on the feasibility of introducing a national deposit-return system in Scotland, in May 2015.

The feasibility study was an initial step in exploring the issue of deposit return – the study does not represent a proposal from the Scottish Government.

This was followed by a call for evidence, to expand on the issues raised in the feasibility study.

The summary of the call for evidence and responses can be found at – and

The full report and Call for Evidence are available at

Zero Waste Scotland’s call for evidence identified a number of areas where further work would be beneficial to fully consider the impacts of a Deposit Return Scheme. The Scottish Government has asked ZWS to give further consideration to the following priority issues, drawing where appropriate on experience in other countries:

• More accurately quantifying material “within scope” of a Deposit-Return system

• Evaluating the interaction with kerbside collections provided by Local Authorities

• Assessing the time requirements for public participation

• Retailer and manufacturing costs including space requirements, online shopping etc.

• Factors affecting countries that have decided against DRS

• More accurately identifying the value of litter reduction and improved recycling

• Impact on price

• Consideration of hygiene issues in-store and during haulage

• Evidence of behaviour change


Also See >>

Also See >>


CPRE calls for UK-wide Drink Container Deposit Scheme

July 11, 2013

Launch of UK Deposit Alliance – 10 July 2013

CPRE calls for UK-wide deposit scheme

CPRE calls for UK-wide deposit scheme


British Library Conference Centre, central London


The UK Deposit Alliance will provide a focus for the many groups, individuals and policy makers interested in the potential of a UK-wide deposit refund system for drinks containers.

Reverse Vending Machine

Used in Europe for over five decades, In most cases Reverse Vending Recycling Systems are used in markets that have deposits on beverage containers, offering a highly efficient method of identifying the deposit amount of each container returned and providing a refund to the customer, .

The opportunities and threats presented by a deposit scheme tend to polarise the debate. The Alliance seeks to present a balanced view of these positions and provide up to date information for discussion and conversation.

Members can submit information, ideas and arguments for dissemination and feedback.

This launch event will provide the latest thinking on how a deposit scheme could work in the UK and how the existing system in Germany runs using a free market approach, highlighting both the benefits and difficulties encountered.

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “It’s vital that we consider fresh approaches to boosting recycling rates and capturing the value of materials which would otherwise be sent straight to landfill. Through this pilot, we want to assess the impact of this approach which has proved successful around the world, including in Germany, South Australia and Scandinavia. It’s important we change the way people view waste in Scotland and we’ll be looking at how incentivising these recycling schemes impacts on recycling rates and complements other schemes designed to capture valuable materials, including kerbside, recycling centres and banks.”

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland,

Zero Waste Scotland will share the background to its work delivering a deposit pilot scheme for the Scottish Government and some of the preliminary findings.

And we will hear from Retorna, which will premiere the results from its pilot scheme that has run throughout Catalunya, concluding on 30th June. Insights on the success of the scheme will be shared, including the political context, the effects of extended producer responsibility legislation and the impact on the existing Green Box recycling scheme.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to the conversation and share their own thoughts and concerns about how the scheme could work, what benefits there might be – for the economy, the environment and society – and what the unintended consequences, both positive and negative, might be for their industry or sector.

It is coordinating the launch of the UK Deposit Alliance in London  (10 July), where speakers from across Europe will highlight, what they describe as, the benefits of drink deposit schemes. The group argues that small deposit on drinks containers increases recycling revenue and quality, creates jobs and eradicates litter.

Full time jobs

In a statement, the CPRE said: “By putting a small deposit on each container, people are given the incentive to return their bottles or cans rather than throwing them away, in order to redeem it. Implementing a UK-wide scheme could lead to 3,000-4,300 full-time equivalent jobs being created across the country.

“At the launch event, results from a comprehensive pilot project in Catalunya, which ended 10 days ago, will be presented for the first time and preliminary findings from eight pilot projects in Scotland will also be shared.”

CPRE Stop the Drop campaign manager Samantha Harding said: “With millions of drinks containers made from finite resources sold every year in the UK, many of which end up as litter on land and at sea, we should do everything we can to capture them for recycling.

“We need people to know these containers are valuable, not to be freely discarded. A small deposit on each container has been shown to work well in other countries, creating jobs and keeping our countryside, towns and seas cleaner – why can’t we do it here?”