Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme: Summary
1. The Scottish Government announced the design of its Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) on 8 May 2019. This was followed by the laying of draft Regulations to establish the scheme on 10 September 2019. The scheme design and Regulations have been informed by extensive public consultation, international best practice and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders.
2. The scheme design enables consumers to take single-use containers back and redeem a 20p deposit from any retailer selling drinks covered by the scheme.
3. Businesses that sell drinks to be opened and consumed onsite, such as pubs and restaurants, do not have to charge the deposit to the public and will only be required to return the containers they sell on their own premises.
4. A take-back service will be provided by online retailers and other distance sellers as part of the scheme. This means that those customers who are dependent on delivery, because for any reason they are unable to travel to shops, will be able to easily get back the deposits paid on containers.
5. Non-retail spaces will be able to act as voluntary return points. These could include recycling centres, schools or other community hubs. While retailers will be required by legislation to provide a return service, non-retail spaces will operate on an opt-in basis.
6. Retailers can choose to install reverse vending machines (RVMs) to collect the bottles and cans and return deposits. Alternatively, they will have the option to return deposits over the counter, collecting the containers manually.
7. The scheme will include drinks containers made of PET plastic (the most common type of bottle for products such as fizzy drinks and bottled water), aluminium, steel and glass.
8. Scotland’s DRS will target a return rate of 90%. This is significantly higher than the current capture rates for the materials that are in scope of the scheme.
9. Having a deposit level that provides a sufficient incentive to return containers, together with provision of high coverage of return points, means that this target is ambitious but achievable. This target has been written into legislation for the scheme to deliver.