Circular economy

Fighting the throwaway culture.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has reiterated the Scottish Government’s pledge to introduce a deposit return scheme as part of plans to further tackle plastic waste.

Deposit return will increase the quality of recycled materials collected in Scotland. By collecting more drinks containers here, we could recycle them back into items for the food and drinks industry – for example, plastic bottles being recycled to make new plastic bottles – rather than exporting them for other uses. This would be a benefit to industry based in Scotland, which has an increasing demand for recycled materials of high quality.

Visiting Coca-Cola European Partners bottling plant in East Kilbride, she said:

“I am proud of the fact that Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme as we are determined to do all we can to prevent discarded drinks containers from ending up in our streets and seas.

“A deposit return scheme as part of the wider circular economy will not only be an effective way of increasing recycling rates and reducing litter, but also provide an opportunity to secure a new source of high quality material, develop our recycling infrastructure and create jobs as part of our ambition to drive the circular economy on our journey to carbon-neutrality.

“We will bring forward the next steps on designing our deposit return scheme shortly, which will complement our world-leading action on climate change, whilst we continue to maintain our environmental standards in the face of Brexit.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Zero Waste Scotland is currently working on the design of Scotland’s deposit return scheme, a critical part of developing a more circular economy where no resources are wasted.

“There is an increasing demand for quality recycled content here in Scotland from businesses such as Coca-Cola, and people don’t want to see plastics being used once and needlessly discarded. That’s why deposit return, which brings that material back to be used again, here in Scotland, is a win for both the environment and our economy.”

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners Great Britain, added:

“At Coca-Cola European Partners we want to make sure all our packaging is recovered so more can be recycled and none ends up as litter. Deposit return schemes are a major change for shoppers, retailers and producers but we know that a well-designed deposit scheme can increase recycling and reduce the littering of beverage packaging in a way that works for everyone. Industry has a lot of experience of running successful deposit return schemes around the world and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to make sure we design a scheme that works for Scottish businesses and Scottish shoppers, and makes the biggest possible impact on littering and recycling.”


Coca-Cola European Partners is currently the largest user of recycled plastic in the UK food and drink industry, having invested significantly to help transform the UK’s PET recycling and reprocessing capabilities over the past decade.     

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