Driving a circular economy

Social and economic benefits of Deposit Return.

Scotland’s Deposit Return scheme will give industry, business and individuals the opportunity to drive sustainable economic growth while reducing their impact on the environment.

The wide-ranging social and economic benefits of the proposed scheme were published today.

Deposit Return encourages people to return to stores, increasing trade and creating jobs, and secures a new source of high quality material.

It is also expected to reduce the £46 million of public money spent each year on removing litter and flytipping, while the carbon savings are anticipated to be the equivalent to taking 85,500 cars off the road. 

Visiting Changeworks Recycling in Edinburgh, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will not only be an effective way of increasing recycling rates and reducing litter, but also provide a major 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.

“This is an opportunity for us all – industry, business and individuals - to transform our approach to production and use of raw materials, and consider the environmental impact of our actions as we continue on our journey towards becoming a net-zero society.”

Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

"Putting a 20p deposit on bottles and cans places a value on the packaging and gives people an extra incentive to look after it. Because the glass, plastic and metals will be captured separately, the quality of the materials will be high, allowing them to be recycled over and over again.

“By turning bottles into more bottles, and cans into more cans, we can get the best economic return on our resources and reduce the damaging emissions that are contributing to the global climate emergency.”

Ken McLean, Operations Director, Changeworks Recycling, said:

“Scotland has really ambitious waste reduction targets and the introduction of a deposit return scheme is a step in the right direction to increasing recycling rates.

“Separate collections are much more effective than mixed recycling at achieving the high quality and capture levels required to build and support the circular economy and make sure that no economic or environmental opportunities are missed. Deposit Return is a high quality recycling initiative that demonstrates Scotland's action on tackling the global climate emergency.”


A detailed implementation plan for the scheme is being developed, supported by an Implementation Advisory Group which represents key stakeholders across industry, business and retail.

The Deposit Return Scheme’s Full Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, together with the Full Equality Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment: Post Adoption Statement are available on the Scottish Government website

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