Publication - Consultation paper

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary

Summary of the Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland consultation paper.

Deposit return scheme for Scotland: summary
Example 3 – Take back to any place of purchase

Example 3 – Take back to any place of purchase

Example 3 is an example where you would be able to take your drinks containers back to any retailer that sells drinks in disposable containers.

What this example looks like

This example would mean that any retailer that sells drinks in disposable containers would have to provide a deposit return service so you can get back the deposit you paid on the container when you bought the drink. You would be able to take your container back to any of these retailers – it wouldn't have to be the same one you bought the drink from. It would mean there would be a lot more places where you could claim your deposit back in your local area, compared to Examples 1 and 2.

Bigger retailers may have machines to collect the bottles and cans, and return people's deposits. Smaller retailers with less space could return deposits manually over the counter.

This example would cover some types of plastic bottles, aluminium cans, steel cans and glass bottles. The type of plastic bottles would be ones made of a plastic called PET, which is the most common kind for fizzy drinks and bottled water.

Who would run it

Similar to Examples 1 and 2, the drinks industry and retailers would need to work together to create an organisation that would run the deposit return system. This organisation would make sure the system runs properly, and some of the money made by the deposit system would pay for staff needed to run the system and the costs involved in running it.

It would need to make sure the retailers paid in the deposits they had taken on drinks they had sold, and also that they received money for all the deposits they returned to customers. It would also arrange for handling fees to be paid to return points and the containers to be regularly collected and recycled.

Retailers that sell drinks in disposable containers would have to provide a system in store to give people back the deposits on any drinks containers covered by the system ( PET plastic, cans and glass bottles).

The effectiveness of these types of systems elsewhere in the world

Systems like this in Scandinavia and the Baltic states are seeing over 85% of drinks containers being recycled.

The benefits and drawbacks of the example

This example offers the highest return rate for containers in scope. As it has the highest return rate, it most closely matches the environmental ambitions of the policy of increasing the recycling rate and reducing littering.

It would have the highest impact on retailers, through either loss of selling space if they install a RVM or staff time if they take back manually, plus the requirement to store containers until they are collected. The system would offer a 'handling fee' paid per container returned to compensate for this disruption, and support the costs to retailers of operating the scheme.

A return to retail system would also be the most accessible. If every retailer either has a reverse vending machine or takes back over the counter, people will be able to return their containers as part of their normal purchasing routine. Even if customers chose to make a special trip to return their containers, the density of return points means it is likely they will not have to travel far to find one.

Qualitative Scoring of Example 3: Take back to any place of purchase

Net Preset Value £754 million (25 years) Return to Retail (Standard) Plastic, glass and metal
Objective 10p
80% capture rate
Relevant Parameters Score (out of 10) % Weight Weighted Score
Ensure a fairness for all demographic groups e.g. considering the impacts of the deposit level on households on lower incomes 10p, minimal impacts identified 9 32 28.8
Maximise accessibility to all demographic groups e.g. ensure there is no need to access a private vehicle to redeem deposits 17,407 return points, align with retail opening, staff on site, certain public have access to location 10 38 38
Create employment opportunities for socially disadvantaged groups such as the long term unemployed or those with disabilities 107 jobs, 99 in a single location, industry owned 6 13 7.8
Create opportunities to raise funds for charitable causes, where use of the money can have wider societal benefits RVM allows donation 5 17 8.5
Total Score       83

Example 3 scored 83 overall, the second highest scoring. This is primarily due to the importance placed on the system being as accessible as possible, which is achieved in this system through return points being in all retailers. The system also scored well on fairness.

The Net Present Value of Example 3: Take back to any place of purchase

This example assumes a broad range of materials are in scope; glass bottles, metal cans and PET plastic bottles, with materials returned to any place of purchase. With a deposit level of 10p and 17,407 return locations located at any premise that sells these containers, a capture rate of 80% is achieved.

Example 3 has a total net benefit of £745 million over the 25-year NPV compared to not introducing a scheme.


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