Deposit return scheme consultation: analysis of responses

Analysis of reponses to the deposit return scheme for Scotland consultation.

Annex 2: Have You Got The Bottle campaign resources

The Have You Got The Bottle (HYGTB) campaign group was supported by a range of environmental and other organisations and had campaigned for the introduction of a deposit return scheme. The group encouraged their supporters to respond to the Scottish Government consultation on the proposed scheme for Scotland, and assisted by (i) providing guidance on how to respond to the consultation via the online consultation questionnaire, and (ii) producing pre-printed postcards for submission by post.

The guidance for submitting an online response advised supporters on how to answer a subset of the consultation questions and was available on the HYGTB website. Two versions of the guidance were provided: 

  • A ‘15-minute version’ covering 14 questions (Qs 1, 2, 2a, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 16, 20, 25, 26, 40, 49)
  • A ‘5-minute version’ covering 5 questions. These questions were a subset of the questions covered in the 15-minute version (Qs 1, 7, 11, 14 and 25). 

The guidance suggested how respondents might answer the tick-box questions in the consultation and provided a brief explanation for the suggested answer which respondents could draw on in providing any comments they wished to include at the ‘open’ questions.

The postcard campaign invited supporters to sign their name to a statement addressing key aspects of the scheme, and to indicate (i.e. to write in) the level of deposit (in pence) they thought should be on every drink container.

The text for each of these campaign resources is reproduced below. 

HYGTB guidance for submitting an online response

If you have a little more time to give your views on the best deposit return system for Scotland, please follow this guide below.

We think the following fourteen questions on the Scottish Government’s consultation site are the key ones which will determine how successful the final system will be. You can answer as many or as few as you like so long as you fill in the personal details section before submitting your response on their site. The whole consultation background paper is here (be warned – it is 75 pages long!).

First Step: Open the consultation. [link]

Page: What materials will be collected

Question 1: What materials should be included?

Tick their last two options.

This would include cans, glass, cartons and cups as well as plastic. Including all materials would do most to reduce litter and improve recycling.

Question 2: Should deposits be expanded in future to other materials?

Tick ‘Yes’.

A deposit system needs to keep up with new materials and to look for opportunities to reduce other litter. Legislation should be put in place so that new products are automatically included.

Question 2a: What should we start with?

Tick ‘All’.

The options listed would be a sensible start for an ambitious deposit system: plastic, cans, glass, cartons and disposable cups. Refillable bottles could be added later, although this isn’t an option the Scottish Government discuss. We think it’s possible that coffee cups could be recovered through a separate similar system, or added at a second stage.

Question 4: Should other materials be included?

Tick ‘Yes’.

We think it’s very important that any system be universal, and not provide incentives for manufacturers to switch to materials without deposits to avoid taking part. Instead, the system should give producers an incentive for using materials that are easy to recycle and have a high content of recycled materials. Containers of all materials that drinks are sold in, (including bioplastics and compostable materials) should be given a ‘price’ for producers, according to how recyclable they are.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: What types of products will have a deposit on them

Question 7: What determines whether a drink is included?

Tick ‘Product it contains’.

If a deposit system is limited to the most recyclable materials, some manufacturers might switch to a different material to avoid being part of the system. If a drink has a deposit on it whatever it’s sold in, the incentive will be to use a material that’s easy to get back and recycle.

Question 8: Are there any sorts of product that shouldn’t have deposits on them?

Tick none of the boxes.

Everything on the Scottish Government’s list can be included in a deposit system. We see some of the hygiene concerns about including milk, but a best practice deposit system can reduce or eliminate those. If milk itself is excluded, there must be clear regulations that include all other dairy-based drinks.

Question 11: Should deposits be limited to ‘on the go’ items?

Tick ‘No’.

It’s not possible to tell where someone will open a drink, and all sorts of drinks are currently littered and cause environmental and safety problems. Also, deposit systems separate materials, which is more efficient for recycling, and it makes no sense to let some high-quality materials end up in mixed recycling. There’s also a risk that producers will change the size of bottles and cans that they sell if only certain sizes are included in the system.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: Where you will be able to get the deposit back

Question 14: Where should containers be returned to?

Tick ‘Take back to a place that sells drinks’.

All shops above a certain size should take back any materials which they sell. The more places that accept empties, the easier it will be for people to take part, especially for people with disabilities or without access to a car. It should be as easy as possible for other places such as schools, churches and sports or music venues to accept returns if they want to.

Question 16: Should online retailers take containers back?

Tick ‘Yes’.

Returning empties via online delivery vans is the most efficient and convenient solution here. It’s especially important that people with mobility issues are able to return their drinks containers to the person who delivers their shopping. Countries such as Norway and Germany have hygienic systems that work this way already. An app could also be made available to the public through which they could get their deposits back. Consideration should be given to those living in remote rural locations, as they may rely on less formal delivery arrangements.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: How the scheme will be paid for

Question 20: Should unredeemed deposits or other funding be ringfenced within the system to maintain and improve it, or should it be diverted for other purposes?

Tick ‘Funding should be ringfenced’.

The financial stability of modern systems relies on the system operator controlling any unredeemed deposits, alongside the sale of recovered materials and a small producer fee.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: How much the deposit should be

Question 25: Do you have a preference for the deposit level?

Tick ‘Yes’ and give a level in the comment box.

We think between 15p and 20p would be enough to see a very good recycling rate, but it’s important that this amount can be changed in the future if necessary.

Question 26: Do you think different types of drinks containers should have a different deposit level?

Tick ‘No’.

It would be confusing to have a different amount for different drinks, and might have unexpected negative effects (such as giving the impression it’s less important to return smaller items, or push other changes to consumer behaviour in a less sustainable direction).

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: Examples of deposit return schemes

Question 40: Which of the four examples do you think is the most ambitious?

Tick ‘Example 4’.

Of the four examples set out, the first two are the 1970s model of return to out-of-town depots, as used in parts of America. They are inefficient and see lower return rates. The third example is essentially the Scandinavian or Baltic model (which are much better systems), albeit with a lower deposit. Return rates would therefore be below what could be achieved. The fourth option adds in more materials, so is the best of the four, but should take into account the proposed improvements we have suggested in earlier answers.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: Co-operation with the other UK administrations

Question 49: Do you think being part of a UK-wide system would be beneficial for Scotland?

Tick ‘Yes’.

It would be easier for consumers if any drinks container we buy in Scotland can be returned UK-wide and have the same deposit value. It would also mean producers would not incur unnecessary costs producing different labels for the same drinks, just because they’re sold in different parts of the UK.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Page: About you

Put your personal information in and select your privacy preferences.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Last Step: Submit your consultation

Scroll to the bottom of the consultation page then click the blue ‘Finish’ button.

Postcard text

If you want the best possible deposit return scheme for Scotland and you haven’t got time to answer all the questions in the public consultation at, please sign this pledge now and let the Scottish Government know how much you care about getting it right. And while you’re at it, please fill in the amount you think the deposit should be in the blank space provided.

I support a deposit return system in Scotland that:

  • includes drinks containers made from all materials (tick 4th and 5th boxes for Q1 and leave Q3 & Q8 blank)
  • includes all drinks (tick ‘product it contains’ for Q7, tick no for Q11, and Example 4 for Q40)
  • asks online retailers and most shops to accept returns (tick box 1 for Q14 and yes for Q16)
  • has a deposit of ____ p on every drink container (tick yes for Q25, with the indicated level as a comment)
  • keeps unclaimed deposits in the system for stability, and lets the public choose to donate their deposit (tick ‘ringfenced’ for Q20, yes to Q30 and comment)*

Name: Over 16? Y/N


Postcode (optional):

LOGOs of The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) and Have You Got The Bottle (HYGB)

*These questions correspond to those asked in the
Scottish Government’s Public Consultation entitled
“A Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland”.


Email: Tim Chant

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